THE PET BABYSITTER’S ‘smart dispenser' 370.
(photo credit: Tami Dahan)
An electronic “dog-and-cat babysitter” – with a “smart dispenser” that supplies pets with food and water, a “smart door” enabling them to go outdoors and a collar chip that broadcasts the animals’ whereabouts to the absent owner – has been developed by electronic engineering students at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan.
Two students in the college’s electronic engineering department – Mor Hundert and Adi Ben-Ami – designed the device as part of the final project for their bachelor’s of science degrees. The electronic babysitter is meant to take care of the pets when their owners are away but want to supervise them from afar.
The student team, supervised by lecturer Yoram Mazor, developed a hidden double door suited to the pet’s size that contains an electronic component inside. Usually it is locked from the inside but can open with the help of an electric motor that raises and lowers it and prevents anyone else from entering.
The double door can be retrofitted on an existing door in the home.
An electronic device on the pet’s collar opens the door when the pet stands near it to get out or return. Infra-red controls on both sides of the door inform the system on which side of the door the pet is located and allows it to enter or exit.
The feeding unit is comprised of automated dispensers with units of food determined in advance by the owners and opened at set times. The system can even detect if the feeding dishes are not in place; if so, food is not dispensed, so as to avoid litter on the floor.
Dr. Ofer Schwartzgals, head of the electronic engineering faculty, said that simple components and innovative thinking made it possible to implement the design; the product could easily be manufactured for the mass market and make life easier for pet owners.