SmartBowl – The ultimate “Pet Project”

Every Maker with a cat at home will sooner or later decide to employ their “making” skills into building some gizmo that automates the process of feeding the cat. Last winter, the Lab decided to tackle this issue and came up with an idea to make a bowl that weighs the amount of food it contains and can trigger a refilling device when it detects that it is empty. It would also report food consumption to a web service via WiFi. The project was also a good opportunity to try out some unused earlier products and services like ESP8266, Amazon EC2 and D3.js charting library. The project took few weeks to complete, but eventually the contraption worked quite well. The project has been described in detail on Hackster.io so if you want to read more about it and watch some demo videos, click here.

Head Up Display for a Multimeter

This is definitely one of the most impressive projects on Instructables. An engineer (a real one, not a software one ;-)) named Alain Mauer has built a special device that can be attached to glasses and enables the user to see data from a multimeter directly in their line of sight. This is important because when working with high-current devices and a large multimeter it is often difficult to have the device in a convenient location and constantly turning your head around to read the displayed data can cause an accidental short when your hand slips a little and the probe touches something it should not touch.
A detailed description of the project can be found here.

Camel Brains

The Lab likes the great outdoors. However, to enjoy hiking or 100+ km bicycle rides, one needs to keep properly hydrated. Probably the easiest way to take a large amount of water on a trip is to pour it into a so called “Hydration Pack” (a.k.a. “Camelbak”). The only problem with those things is that it’s rather tricky to tell how much water remains in the bag. And this is where technology comes to the rescue! Using a water flow meter and a Bluetooth-enabled micro-controller, the Lab has built a basic water consumption device that reports the amount of water consumed and remaining to an Android application which in turn displays this information on a smartphone.
The project has been described in detail on Hackster.io