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 so if you want to read more about it and watch some demo videos, click 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