This RFID-enabled feeder lets a household cat “hunt” for dinner.
One Maker has created a project that caters to the primal instincts of his indoor cat by preying upon RFID-enabled Wiffle Balls, instead of mice and other animals found in the wild. When these balls are delivered to a custom-built feeding machine, it releases a serving of food for the household pet.
What’s nice is that the ingenious hack from Benjamin Millam enables a kitty to tap into its innate desires, while also saving its owner the chore of feeding it by automating the process. The system itself is pretty simple. It features a modded Super Feeder, an Adafruit RFID reader, a remote antenna, a few relays and an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) that’s tasked with telling the automatic feeder to release the food.
Millam places the embedded plastic balls in hard-to-reach places throughout his home, which the feline systematically seeks out throughout the day and then drops into a blue bowl on top of the makeshift device. From there, gravity takes over. As the ball makes its way down the shoot, the RFID tag is scanned and a reward is dispensed accordingly.
The Maker does note, however, that a little training is key in order for this method work. While we’ll have to wait and see if this becomes an actual product, you can watch Monkey the Cat go after some Wiffle Balls right meow!