Lifehack Experience: A Cat Access Device

23/05/13
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As a developer with long-standing experience I often ask myself: “Do I use anything I create? Could I make something useful for myself? And how could it facilitate my life and my family existence?” This R&D project for personal use appeared surprisingly when spring came.

Happy owner, happy cat

As a cat person, I want to make the life of my pet – a female cat named Silva – comfortable and safe. For me, as an owner, it is a necessary to keep the cat and its habitat protected. The solution suggested itself after my house was visited several times by neighboring cats. Having been inspired by this video, I went to work.

As a result, I made an automatic cat door with a special feature, a RFID-sensor. I used improvised materials including an old windscreen wiper motor (pic.1-3). It seemed like a quest – to combine all the details while trying not to spend much money on the parts.

Pic. 1Pic. 2Pic. 3

The device consists of a control unit, which is connected to a motor, and some sensors: a RFID-reader, infrared sensor, and a magnetic sensor for the position of the door (pic.4). Another RFID tag is on the pet’s collar (pic.5).

Pic. 4Pic. 5

What’s the profit? No intruders, especially male cats, who used to visit Silva every spring or simply behave like conquerors at my place: eat my cat’s food, mark their territory, hide in hard to reach places all over the house (particularly cowardly ones which “destroyed my house” right before my eyes). All these annoyances were finally over.

This device became one of my first experiences with embedded machinery and was my second lifehack project (after an automatic sprinkler system; I can write about it later, if anybody will be interested in it). But after that, I had a burning desire to create something new. Such things capture you in one moment and rope you into a Hack Your Life World. Join me!

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