Auto Ball Launcher Will Be Your Dog’s New Best Friend

If there’s one bright spot on the blight that is this pandemic, it’s got to be all the extra time we’re spending with our pets. Dogs especially love that we’re home all the time and want to spend it playing, but sometimes you need to get stuff done. Why not head outside with your laptop and keep the dog happy with an automatic ball launcher?

This is a work in progress, and [Connor] plans to publish a BOM and the STL files once it’s all finished. For now, it’s a working prototype that shoots a ball into the air and about 25 feet away, from the looks of it. Far enough to be fun, but not so far that it goes over the fence.

All [Connor] has to do is drop the ball in the top, which you know is going to lead to training the dog to do it himself. A proximity sensor detects the ball and starts up a pair of 540 R/C motors, then a servo drops the ball down the internal chute. The motors spit the ball out with great force with a pair of profiled, 3D-printed wheels that are controlled by a Turnigy ESC and an Arduino Nano.

In the future, [Connor] plans to print a cover for the electronics and enlarge the funnel so it’s easier for the dog to drop in the ball. Check out the brief demo and build video after the break.

All dogs should be able to get in a good game of fetch as often as they want, even if they happen to be blind.

Continue reading “Auto Ball Launcher Will Be Your Dog’s New Best Friend”

A Beeping Toy Helps A Blind Dog Play Fetch

When a beloved pet goes blind, it doesn’t mean they can’t or don’t want to play fetch anymore, only that the game must change a bit. [Bud Bennett]’s dog Lucy has slowly lost her sight to progressive renal atrophy but is still up for playing with toys, so [Bud] decided to make a beeper that can go inside various stuffed toys to help Lucy locate them. Lucy doesn’t care for commercial toys that chime constantly, especially once she’s got it in her mouth.

This tiny package is centered around an LIS3DH accelerometer and programmed with a PIC16F18313. When the toy is thrown up in the air, the accelerometer determines that it’s in free fall and triggers an interrupt on the PIC. The piezo buzzer starts beeping so Lucy can find it, then stops a short while later and waits for the next free fall. The power dissipation is so low that [Bud] expects to charge the 120 mAh LiPo battery about once a year.

We bet that communication between [Bud] and Lucy is already pretty good, but maybe she could be more expressive with a doggy soundboard.

Laser Pup


[Joe] sent us this project called Laser Pup.  After seeing many other projects with the ioBridge like beer pouring and dog treat dispensing, he wanted to make his own. His project allows him to play with his dog via a ceiling mounted laser pointer. We know, you were hoping for something more along the lines of Laser Cats, but this is still pretty cool. He built a web interface specifically for the iPhone to control the laser, room lights, and show a live feed of the puppy playing. You can see a video of it in action after the break.

Continue reading “Laser Pup”