[MostElectronics], like many of us, love cats, and so wanted to create an internet connected treat dispenser for their most loved ones. The result is an intelligent 3D printed mechanism connected to a Raspberry Pi capable of serving treats via a locally run web application.
On the software side, the Raspberry Pi uses a RESTful API that can connect via a static IP. The API is implemented as a Python Flask application running under a stand alone web server Python script. The web application itself keeps track of the number of treats left and provides an easy interface for operators to dispense treats at their leisure. The RpiMotorLib Python library is used to control a 28BYJ-48 stepper motor via its ULN2003 controller module, which is used to rotate the shaft inside the treat dispenser.
The treat dispensing mechanism is a stacked, compartmentalized drum, with two drum layers for food that can drop treats. The lower drum dispenses treats through a chute attached to the tray for the cat, leaving an empty compartment that the upper drum can refill by dropping its treats through a hinged opening. Each compartmentalized treat drum layer provides 11 treats, allowing for a total of 22 treats with two layers on top of each other. One can imagine expanding the treat dispenser to include more drum layers by adding more layers.
The source code is available on GitHub and the STL files for the dispenser are available on Thingiverse. We’ve seen electronic cat feeders before, sometimes with cumulative consequences that shake us to our core and question our superiority.
Video after the break!