Just in case you didn’t look at the internet yesterday, I wanted to make sure you saw this incredible new use of technology for cats. It’s the Bistro Smart Feeder, which just launched a Indiegogo campaign and has been lighting up tech news around the world. It’s another brilliant use of technology to help improve the lives or cats, and if it does what they say it can do, it’s pretty spectacular.
Bistro uses facial recognition technology to identify each of your cats as they approach the feeder so it can track all kinds of data about the cat that will help you monitor his or her food and water intake, eating patterns, and body weight. The cat steps on a scale to reach the feeder, so it can measure weight, then the feeder dispenses food and water and tracks how much the cat consumes. All of this data is instantly sent to your smart phone and recorded so you can track patterns over time.
There are sensors in both the food and water dishes so if one cat doesn’t finish eating or drinking, the amount is measured for the next cat to use the feeder. It looks like you can program it to dispense specific portions for each cat, or you can just use it to dispense a specific amount of food at set times.
The camera used for the facial recognition also sends images to your phone so you can keep an eye on your cat when she’s at the feeder, plus you’ll be able to share images with other cat guardians in a online community. Between all the new technology that lets us watch our cats on our digital devices, we will soon be able to watch them all day long! Employers everywhere are thrilled.
The Bistro feeder connects to your home wi-fi network in order to function. Apparently, they recommend using one feeder for up to three cats, primarily because of the food and water capacity, but you can have multiple feeders in your home all connected to the same system so all data flows together and any cat can use any feeder.
One drawback is that the feeder only works with dry cat food, they can’t make it work with canned or raw food. Also, the food and water are right next to each other and, remember, cats prefer their water source to be farther away from their food. They did make both the food and water dishes ceramic in order to help reduce feline acne, which could occur with plastic feeding dishes.
Visit the Bistro Indiegogo page to get all the details and see the perks you can get for supporting the campaign. The first Bistro units will be available in February 2015 and they are expected to retail for $249 USD.
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UPDATE 7/13/15: The Bistro cat feeder is now called CatFi and more info can be found at CatFi.com.