Cat-o-Matic 3000 Serves Your Feline Masters

When you have three cats and three humans, you have one problem: feeding them on a schedule without over or under feeding them. Even if there was only one human in the equation, the Cat-o-Matic 3000 would still be a useful tool.

Essentially, it’s a traffic light for cats — where green means you are go for feeding, and red means the cat was just fed. Yellow, of course, means the cat is either half-full or half-empty, depending on your outlook.

The brains of this operation is an ATmega88PA leftover from another project. There’s a no-name voltage regulator that steps up the two AA cells to 5 volts. Timing comes from a 32 kHz crystal that allows the microcontroller to stay in power-saving sleep mode for long periods of time.

Creator [0xCAFEAFFE] says the firmware was cobbled together from other projects. Essentially, it wakes up once per second to increment the uptime counter and then goes back to sleep. Short-pressing a button shows the feeding status, and long-pressing it will reset the timer.

Wanna make a cat status indicator without electronics? Give flexures a try.

We Want This LED Ball

[Nikolai] has a friend who is into fire and light shows. Her birthday was coming up, so [Nikolai] decided to build something to compliment her performances. He came up with a 10 cm LED ball (Russian, Google translation) that has a matrix of 256 LEDs wrapped around its surface.

The ball’s structural support is its own PCBs. The bottom of the ball is a simple bus – no components needed. The processor module fits into the bus along with the side arcs with LEDs on the edge. The top holds two AA batteries and a MAX1674 step up converter. The view from the inside looks like some sort of bizarre alien device. Very cool.

The central processor module is based around an ATmega88. The microprocessor controls two ‘595 for each of the 16 side panels. So far, four modes of operation have been programmed – a sine graph wrapped around a sphere, a random function, two oscillating circles, and plain old lines. The code for the LED ball is available (offsite link), and thankfully the variables are in English. An impressive piece of engineering and board layout skills.

Check out the video of the LED ball after the break.

Continue reading “We Want This LED Ball”