Monday, 27 August 2012

Automating pet food delivery

The great thing about pets (perhaps with the exception of a very few fussy ones) is that they're not worried about presentation and delivery of their food, only that they get it. As such there are opportunities to automate pet food delivery without detrimenting the pets experience, whilst saving human time/labour.

It would be fairly trivial to design an automated delivery tool from scratch with the ability to alter food packaging to suite the design. Such a solution would no doubt be beneficial to food manufacturers, as it would allow them to charge a premium on the food sold in the specialised packaging.

So more interesting for the consumer would be a solution that can take food in its current packaging, and deliver it in an automated fashion.

The majority of pets are dogs and cats, and food typically comes in a standard can. The steps an automated feeding device would need to be able to do are as follows:
  • Store a large number of cans, and allow these be used in turn (gravity feed)
  • Open the can
  • Take slices of the can and contents
  • Apply plunger to can slices
  • Eject empty can slices
  • Cover (and potentially refrigerate) can slices
Such a system would allow any subdivision of a can (half, thirds, quarter, etc), based on the dietary requirements of the particular pet. The food would be dispensed into a swappable bowl, allowing it to be cleaned by the user on a regular basis.

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