If you always have a problem of who will feed your pet when you're on holiday, students of computer engineering at King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi have a solution.
They have invented a computer program called Holiday Pet Manager that allows pet owners to provide food for their animals via the internet. Alisa Satravaha and Dolaporn Thitipattanavanich developed a program which controls the food dispenser by attaching a micro controller to the machine.
"We always had a problem feeding our cat when no one was at home, so we had to come up with a solution," said Dolaporn.
The food dispenser, which connects to the local area network, features two function modes that users can select: One-time feeding and a Setting Schedule.
The first one commands the dispenser to function once daily. For example, at a set time, the machine will dispense food daily into the food bowl.
The Setting Schedule mode, on the other hand, allows pet owners to set the dispenser to function on a set day and time such as every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 4pm. Once the machine has dispensed the food, the system will notify the pet owner via a website.
In case the food runs out, or the pet does not eat the food, the system will alert via the website, and will send an email to the owner as well.
"Besides a personal computer, users can access the program via a smartphone using the internet browser. An app has not been developed, as yet," said Dolaporn.
A prototype food dispenser has been designed to support Thai, English and Japanese languages. Besides a cat, the machine has been designed to serve for dogs and fish, as well.
"We are developing a product design to make the machine commercial and we expect it to be finished by the end of the year," said Alisa, adding that the project was financially supported by the university's Technopreneurship programme.
The Holiday Pet Manager project won the first prize of the Multimedia Embedded System from the Software Innovation Contest at ICT International Student Project Conference 2013.
About the author
- Writer: Sasiwimon Boonruang
Position: Life Writer