automatic pet feeder

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

An automatic feeder that would dispense food based on the activation of a series of buttons. The buttons, the system controller, and the food dispenser. The buttons and food dispenser interfaced with the system controller to allow for intelligent processing of inputs and outputs. I wanted to be able to dynamically configure how the activation of the buttons affected

automatic pet feeder
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the dispensing of food without needing to modify any hardware. For instance, while the cat was still learning how to use the system, I wanted the activation of any button to dispense food. As the cat grew more comfortable with the new arrangement I would begin to place additional constraints on how the button activation would lead to the food. For instance, perhaps only the button with a light on would dispense food, touching any other button would lead to no response. I also wanted to record which buttons were pressed and if it was a correct choice. If the cat was truly learning there should be some sort of learning curve and I wanted to be sure I collected enough data to show such a response. The intent of this post is to describe the overall system. The data collection process is still on going and once I collect enough data, I hope to post the results. I should mention, that at no time did the cat ever run the risk of not getting food. She always receives twice daily canned, wet food feedings. This dispenser only controlled the access to a secondary supply of dry food. In order for the cat to interact with the system, she needed some sort of interface mechanism. I debated what form this mechanism should take, I thought about using everything from large push-buttons to a touch screen monitor. I eventually settled on using discrete, capacitive touch buttons. This setup minimized both the mechanical housing necessary to...

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