Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes 30-year-old Nat Morris. The IT whiz and dog-lover invented a computerized way of feeding his pet–by Twitter. Yes, that’s right; Morris sends a “tweet treat” to his treasured pooch, four-year-old Toby.
Morris’ beloved Border Terrier gets a snack from an automated food dispenser whenever anyone sends a message via Twitter to ‘@FeedToby.’ Amazingly, Morris and others can post these messages from anywhere in the world–which is quite handy for jet setters.
You’re probably stunned and wondering, how does this work? Here’s how: when a message is sent to @FeedToby it’s received by a mini-computer which is linked up to tiny motor taken from a household printer. The mini-computer receives this message, a beeper goes off, and Toby is signaled to come over and sits by a tube under his feeder. The motor then comes to life and opens a small door that releases a serving of food. Toby’s treat then drops down the tube and into his food bowl. A digital camera then takes a photo of Toby and sends it back to Morris on Twitter–so Morris can rest assured that Toby has been fed.
It should come as no surprise that Nat is an IT consultant. Unfortunately, he spends a great deal of time working away from home. Since he isn’t always there to feed Toby by hand, he found a solution to his dilemma; he can do it electronically by loading crushed dog biscuits. In fact, Morris is looking into patenting his handiwork.
Of course, family and friends joined in the fun, which means Toby was getting treated at all hours and quite often. Morris took charge and created restrictions so Toby could keep his sleek physique. He explains, “People have been sending him food at all hours of the day–so I had to limit it to between nine in the morning to nine in the evening. I’m thinking of doing an updated version which features a scale to weigh him before he is fed just to make sure he’s not putting on too much puppy fat” (DailyMail.co.uk, March 6, 2012).
While this in no way takes the place of the human-pet bond, it sure is a fun way to use new technology to keep pets full and happy. We wonder what Pavlov would think of this…