Smart Cat Feeder Uses Facial Recognition
Courtesy of Panthera
June 8, 2012
-- Camera traps rigged by Panthera, an organization that strives to protect jaguars and other big cats, captured the following stunning views of elusive jaguars as they wandered through a palm oil plantation in Colombia. The aim was to find out what impact Colombia’s growing oil palm plantations has on jaguars. Palm oil plantations have been springing up world wide, particularly in huge tracts of forest, where thousands of animal and plant species live or forage. Said Panthera's Jaguar Program Executive Director, Howard Quigley, “Our data suggest that plantations can be part of a landscape mosaic that jaguars will use. But careful planning that avoids large-scale replacement of forest with huge palm oil areas will be essential if we want to avoid the kind of isolation that tigers now suffer.”
At the risk of upsetting my cat Murphy — who I’m convinced can not only read, but speed-read — here’s the latest bulletin from the world of cat feeder facial recognition technology.
The Bistro smart cat feeder, designed by a team called 42ARK out of Taiwan, is the sort of crazy idea that Just Might Work. Currently in crowdfunding stage, the device combines several different technologies to ensure your cat is eating properly.
That’s “properly” as defined by humans, not by cats, which is why I just let Murphy outside and am typing this in the closet. Like other automated cat feeders, the Bistro lets owners dispense measured amounts of food when kitty is home alone.
But that’s just the beginning. Weight sensors beneath both the food bowl and the platform in front calculate precisely how much food gets eaten. Information is sent wirelessly to the Bistro smartphone app, which logs all dietary data so you monitor or restrict your cat’s intake.
(What was that creaking? Did the front door just open?)
Here’s the ingenious part: For families with multiple cats, the Bistro incorporates a camera and a facial recognition system to identify which cat is eating what, and when. So if your alpha cat is bullying the others and stealing food, you can bust the furry little devil — with photographic evidence.
You can also set the platform scale to identify different cats by weight, or use the built-in camera as a kind of feline nanny-cam. This presents a valuable opportunity to check in on the cats while you’re away, to see what they really get up to when …
(Oh, no. Something is scratching at the closet door. The knob is turning! Impossible ! Alt-tab! Alt-tab! Alt-tab!)