Exercise Wheel Tracks Kitty’s Fitness Goals

A few weeks ago [Jasper Ruben] built his cats a jumbo size hamster exercise wheel. They seemed to like it, so he decided to up the ante and upgrade it. The wheel now features a Raspberry Pi which can track speed, calculate distance traveled, and determine the equivalent running speed of [Jasper’s] feline companions.

To calculate the speed of the wheel, [Jasper] is using a small coil sensor (similar to how bicycle speedometers work). Six nails in the wheel trigger the sensor. Once the data is on-board the Pi, some simple calculations allow [Jasper] to provide a few different metrics on how effective the cat exercise is. A webcam sends a live stream of the wheel online with a data overlay for your viewing pleasure.

The really cool part is that this setup lets [Jasper] track when (and if) the cats actually use the exercise wheel. So far it seems like they use it about six times a day, with an average of a minute per walk — typically early in the morning between 5 and 8AM. That’s better than some of our own exercise habits!

And in case you’re interested in how he actually built the cat-wheel, there’s a complete DIY gallery on Imgur.  We’ve also shared cat wheels before — like this futuristic LED bedazzled one!

[via r/DIY]

22 thoughts on “Exercise Wheel Tracks Kitty’s Fitness Goals

    1. Naw, hard drive magnets are very strong but their field is shaped in such a way that it doesn’t extend very far. It’d be better to use the standard rare earth mags.

    1. Forget servos, a spring mounted module from the hub should pick up enough “jiggle” to risk the kitty pouncing.

      Although you could adjust how far up the slope the pointer is depending on speed.

      Perhaps a better use of said servo-pointer would be to motivate the car around the home environment?

    1. Indeed; I have a part-Himalayan-part-somethingelse and built something similar out of the stainless-steel drum from a dead front-load washing machine. Officially it’s a compost tumbler, but I couldn’t help noticing the similarity to a giant hamster wheel and trying to encourage the cat to run in it. Turns out this otherwise super-chill cat freaked out everytime it ‘moved’ and wanted absolutely nothing to do with that, even after a week of acclimation to the contraption.

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