There is no way that you could leave your dog alone for a few days. However, if you have cats, it's always tempting to try and find a way to leave them alone at home without getting a cat sitter or sending them off to a kennel.
Mathew Newton perfected this idea himself. It reminds us of all of the strange devices that Doc Brown had in his place in Back to the Future. We wouldn't really call it a DIY project even if he did complete it himself. This build is quite complex and you need to know how to program a Cisco switch, as well as physically modify it. Plus, there is another control board onto which the automated feeder is plugged into.
This DIY internet-enabled cat feeder has a full web interface that actually streams feeds of what's going on at home so that you can give the kitties food at the right time. Newton even customized a lite version to use on his smartphone. He uses a motor-driven cereal dispenser that is controlled by signals form port status LEDs on a Cisco switch. It's quite ingenious as he avoids using Ethernet relay units, which can get expensive.
Instead of pushing the button yourself, you can rely on a feed schedule that feeds your pets automatically. Newton says that he uses this all the time and that it works pretty well. We think that it's a great idea, though not everyone will have the skills to build this. Check out the self-explanatory video and his site, which has detailed instructions on how to build your own.
[via Engadget, photos by Matthew Newton]