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Proposal

Automatic Dog Feeder

ECE4007 Senior Design Project

Section RP1, Canine Hunger Force

Justin Waters, Team Leader
Adam Hartley
Ryan Price
Randy Boucher

Submitted

September 17, 2007

.................................1 Objective ....................2 Cost Analysis........................................8-9 7....................................................................................................... Introduction ...................... and Milestones ................................................................3 Background ................................................................. 3 2...................... 7 6........................... Alternatives................................................. TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary............................ 5 4..................... 2 1. Summary ............................................................3-4 3........................................2 Motivation............................................................................................................. 1 1........... 8 7.........10-11 8......... Schedule.............................................................. Marketing and Cost Analysis ..... Project Description and Goals.. 6 5....................................................................... 2 1......................................................... References .................... Technical Specification .................................................................................................................................1 Marketing Analysis ................................................................................................................................ 4 4.............. and Tradeoffs ... 8 7................................. 12 Canine Hunger Force (ECE4007 RP1) i ............................................................................................................................ Design Approach and Details 4.......... 6 4................................. 2 1.......................................... 11 9..........................................................3 Constraints.............................................................................1 Design Approach ............... Project Demonstration ............. Tasks................2 Codes and Standards..........................

Feeding portions will automatically be adjusted based on the previous feeding history. The expected outcome of this project is to design and build a feeder that is cost efficient. food consumption data will be logged and posted on the website. Through the use of a webpage. A compact design is important so that the feeder may be used in many different environments. the owner will be able to create and modify feeding profiles from any internet- connected computer. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Canine Hunger Force’s automatic dog feeder allows a pet owner to set specific feeding times. When specified feeding times occur. but multiple feeders can be used for those who care for multiple pets. The web server will allow remote administration and monitoring of the pet’s feeding schedule. An integral feature of the dog feeder is the inclusion of a web server. Canine Hunger Force (ECE4007 RP1) 1 . This feeder is designed to meet the needs of one dog. The Canine Hunger Force’s automatic dog feeder provides the perfect solution for dog owners who want to ensure that their pet is taken care of in their absence. The computer will communicate with the weight sensor and feeding mechanism through a data acquisition board. Reliability and automation form the backbone of our entire project. Our primary goal is to use networking technology to produce an automatic feeding system that is extremely versatile and simple to use for an everyday dog owner. The dog feeder will utilize an integrated personal computer to handle all data recording and analysis functions. set food quantities and monitor consumption patterns.

1. Dog owners who wish to micromanage their pets feeding while away can use the automatic dog feeding system to ensure their pet is getting the nourishment they need. 1. This product would benefit the dog owner with a busy schedule or multiple pet owners. we wish to produce a smart dog feeding system capable of long term operation with the ability to monitor feeding status and change schedules remotely. Canine Hunger Force (ECE4007 RP1) 2 . the dog feeding system monitors food consumption levels and automatically adjusts the schedule to fit your dog’s habits. and prevent wasting food.1 Objective The overall objective of our project is to produce an autonomous dog feeding system that boasts ease of use and remote access to change feeding schedules. prevent overfeeding. The motivation for this project is to provide a solution for any pet owner who must leave their pet unattended for long periods of time. Current “automatic” dog feeding systems on the market today are either simple gravity systems or utilize timers. By building a dog feeder that is PC controlled we hope to provide accurate feeding portions. AUTOMATIC DOG FEEDER 1.2 Motivation For this particular project. In addition to customizable feeding schedules. INTRODUCTION The automatic dog feeder will utilize a web-based PC that will allow a user to remotely monitor and control food distribution to their pet.

To the best of our knowledge no systems utilizing logic or any electronics beyond timers are currently available for purchase. The Petmate Le Bistro Automatic Dog Feeder [4] is similar to the Perfect Petfeeder in its features. For example the Perfect Petfeeder [3] is controlled through a rudimentary interface that allows the user to set a certain amount of food to be dispensed at a given time each day.3 Background All automatic dog feeding systems on the market today use gravity hoppers or simple timer/motor combinations. The feeder will monitor food consumption and distribution using a load cell.1. Food will be distributed using the analog outputs on the data acquisition board to drive a DC stepper motor connected to a feeding mechanism. PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND GOALS For this project a working automatic dog feeding system prototype that updates via a web server and utilizes logic to modify feeding profiles will be constructed. Food weight will be monitored during the distribution process to ensure accurate food portions are issued. The load cell will be connected to a personal computer that uses a data acquisition board. 2. Final build goals for a working prototype include: • Automatic food distribution based on pre-made profiles • Data analysis of feeding patterns with automatic profile modification Canine Hunger Force (ECE4007 RP1) 3 .

2.6 HTTP Server Motor 12V DC Step Motor Auger 2. as stated previously. TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Component Details Interface National Instruments USB-6008 DAQ Board Food Bowl 3 lb. 0-4. the user will be able to use the web interface to set specific times and amounts for feeding his or her pet. Capacity Web Server AMD Athlon 2600+ running Apache 2. Range. This data will be logged and be available through the web server for the user to view. Capacity / Plastic Food Hopper 12 lb. The food weight will be checked immediately before and after each feeding. • Online connectivity to enable remote monitoring and administration through a built in web server • Ease of use and hands free operation 3.5V Output All of the components listed above are necessary for the operation of the dog feeder.5lb Resolution.5-inch Diameter Load Cell 0-10 lb. The feeding amounts will be automatically modified based on the data collected. Canine Hunger Force (ECE4007 RP1) 4 . Also. ±0.

the web server and DAQ programs will be loaded. The motor. Next. the PC and DAQ board will be built into the enclosure. A GUI must also be created for the web server. A known weight of food will be put into the bowl and the amount will be verified on the web server.1 Design Approach Constructing the basic hardware of the feeder will be the first step of fabrication. A program will be written to allow the web server to control the motor through the DAQ. If the weight displayed is incorrect.4. If there is no problem with the load cell. After all of these steps have been accomplished. Canine Hunger Force (ECE4007 RP1) 5 . The auger will be used to move food from the hopper to the bowl. allow the user to control feeding times and amounts. hopper. A figure of the design approach is shown below. and load cell must be assembled. a calibration test will be performed. DESIGN APPROACH AND DETAILS 4. auger. After this basic assembly has been accomplished. we will check the load cell. adjustments will be made in the DAQ data recording software to correct the error. a process will be implemented to allow the data collected by the DAQ to be available to the web server. This GUI will allow the user to view the food consumption and. bowl. of course. How to make the data available to the web server will become clear once the system is up and running. Also.

DAQ interface software) Calibrate load cell / software Not Accurate Calibration Test Accurate Prototype Ready 4.11g connection. integrated PC with DAQ board) Software Installation (web server. and Tradeoffs We are considering adding a webcam so that visual feedback of the user’s dog can be obtained remotely. load cell.3 Constraints. Alternatives. Hardware assembly (motor. It offers a typical data rate of 19 Mbits/s and a range of 38m between sender and receiver [2]. hopper. or wirelessly through an 802. This will make connecting the board to the PC very easy. The wireless 802. The PC will be connected to the Internet through either a standard Category 5e cable. 4. This will add to the cost (about $40) and complexity of the code required to operate the user interface.4GHz band.2 Codes and Standards The DAQ board that will be used has a USB interface [1]. These characteristics are more than ample for our project.11g standard operates on the 2. auger. bowl. Canine Hunger Force (ECE4007 RP1) 6 .

Canine Hunger Force (ECE4007 RP1) 7 . Assembly. will be handling the programming. SCHEDULE. TASKS. the electrical engineers. Field Testing Aug Aug Aug Aug Sep Sep Sep Oct Oct Oct Nov Nov Nov Nov Dec Dec Dec Task Duration Who 20 23 25 27 3 10 16 1 21 22 4 5 11 12 9 10 14 Decide on Project 1 week all Research Specifics 6 weeks all Find Webserver 4 weeks rp Find DAQ Board 4 weeks rb Find Hopper/Feeder Mechanism 4 weeks jw Find Load Sensor 4 weeks ah Proposal 1 week all Acquire Parts 2 weeks all Assembly 1 week all Unit Testing 4 weeks all Field Testing 4 weeks all Final Demostration 1 week all Our team is organizing the project so that each member contributes based on their degree specialty. We communicate through phone and email and hold weekly meetings. Justin and Adam. will be handling the hardware assembly. the computer engineers. Unit Testing. This ensures that we are able to complete every task within the allotted time. Finalize Features. Search for Parts. 5. AND MILESTONES Tasks: Research Specifics. Submit Proposal. Acquire parts. Ryan and Randy.

This video will include footage of the all the dog feeder’s features as well as footage of animal interaction with the prototype. PROJECT DEMONSTRATION We plan to demonstrate our finished prototype through the use of video demonstration. This product will be for sale worldwide. from checking personal e-mail to running a small business. MARKETING AND COST ANALYSIS 7. How is this product applicable to all of the proposed customers? The Canine Hunger Force automatic dog feeder will implement the use of the internet to keep track of the dog’s feeding habit. we will proceed with device-dog interaction to determine whether or not the dog feeder will be accepted and utilized by the dog. testing will be done to ensure the dog feeder’s hardware and software components are functioning to our specifications. while this product is ideal for multiple dog owners. and our target will be for a range of customers. it is also applicable to those single dog owners who are always on the go. The internet is an existing technology that is used for almost every aspect of a person’s life. Kennel owners are responsible.1 Marketing Analysis The Canine Hunger Forces’ automatic dog feeder will be a feeder designed for all dog lovers. to give their clients the optimal dog caring options available. why not make this technology applicable for pets? From the personal web page given to the Canine Hunger Force (ECE4007 RP1) 8 . Initially. keeping track of their feeding habits can become overwhelming. and should desire. While some kennel owners have several dog’s at their care at one time. However.6. With this technology available. 7. After the device is determined to be in working order.

Canine Hunger Force (ECE4007 RP1) 9 . they will have access to set multiple feeding times for their dog and also monitor its feeding habits. Once each feeding time occurs. The use of the internet makes this feeder very intriguing for possible clients. allowing the owner to leave. We found two different feeders in our research: Perfect Petfeeder[3] and Petmate Le Bistro Automatic Dog Feeder [4]. The proposed feeder will have a load sensor that will monitor how much food is in the bowl to prevent overflow and to also monitor consumption amounts. If there happens to be a drastic change in food consumption this data will be available to the owner so that he can take necessary action. we have not found a dog feeder that implements the use of the internet in the product. knowing the dog will have food in his or her bowl. This data will help the owner keep up with the overall health of the dog by monitoring which foods they like and how often they are eating. but it should be noted that these products do not have any way of monitoring a dog’s feeding habits.client. the load sensor will record data that will go to the owner’s web page. The Perfect Petfeeder has an alarm to let the user know if the hopper is empty. How does this product compare with those already on the market? Through research. There are some feeders that allow the user to set the dog’s feeding times and amounts.

Bulk ordering the parts would cut down significantly on the unit price. the estimated cost for the bowl and hopper would drop to $1 for each. meetings. report writing.2 Cost Analysis The prototype construction will cost approximately $250. we will slightly redesign the unit to be more cost effective. Canine Hunger Force (ECE4007 RP1) 10 .7. Shown below is a table of the cost of each component of the feeder: Prototype Component Prices per Unit Component Cost National Instruments USB-6008 DAQ Board $160 Stepper Motor Free from Georgia Tech Load Cell Approximately $60 Food Bowl Approximately $5 Hopper Approximately $5 Web server Software and Hardware Free (hardware already obtained) Miscellaneous hardware/ wires $20 Total $250 It is estimated that each member of the team will put in 40 hours of work to complete the project. The production costs are shown in a table below. and actual project construction and programming. This time includes lecture attendance. For example. If the prototype is successful.

We plan on ordering the parts this week.00 [3]. Once we receive the parts. this would result in net sales of $2 million and production costs of $1 million dollars. 8. For example. is available for $499. Over a 5 year time period. Advertising $10 Total $200 We expect the unit to sell for 100% over the production cost which would be approximately $200. decided which ones were cost efficient. We have researched each individual part. Canine Hunger Force (ECE4007 RP1) 11 . Mass Production Component Prices per Unit Component Cost PCI Based DAQ Solution $120 Stepper Motor $13 [5] Load Cell $5 Food Bowl $1 Hopper $1 Web server Software and Hardware $30 Web server software free. we will go into the stages of programming them so they will all be synchronized together. we expect to sell approximately 1000 units per year. a currently available feeder. with features inferior to our design. The net profit is therefore $1 million. (open source) Miscellaneous hardware/ wires $20 Fringe Benefits. and which ones were best for our design. This is a reasonable selling price. Depending on how heavily the product is advertised. SUMMARY The current status of our project is that we are beginning to order our parts. Overheard. Therefore the final selling price per unit would be $400.

Zyren “IEEE 802.plx?ID=1823.403-1000-ND (Portescap Danaher Motion US LLC . 2007].dll?Detail?name=403-1000-ND. 16. 2007 [Sep. 16. 2007]. REFERENCES [1] “NI-USB 6008 – Products and Services – National Instruments” Internet: http://sine.petmate. Canine Hunger Force (ECE4007 RP1) 12 . 16.uninett.com/Catalog. 2007 [Sep.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.9.11g Explained” Internet: www.pdf.com/.15M020D1B)” http://www. 2007]. Dec. 2007 [Sep. 2007].perfectpetfeeder. 16. [4] “Electronic Portion Control Le Bistro” http://www. [2] J.ni. 2001 [Sep. 2007].no/wlan/download/WP_IEEE802gExpla_12_06. 2207 [Sep. 6. 15.com/nips/cds/view/p/lang/en/nid/14604.digikey. [3] “The Perfect Petfeeder” Internet: http://www. [5] “Digi-Key .