Canned food-opening robot wants to feed your pets in your absence

Are you one of those people who are alarmed about the forthcoming rise of the robots, or someone who’s happy to kick back in an easy chair and let Short Circuit’s Johnny 5 and friends pick up the slack?

Wherever you sit on this sliding scale, a new Kickstarter robot pet feeder called PawBot may give you pause (paws?) for thought. Described by its creators as the world’s first automated cat and dog wet food dispenser, it’s a gadget that will wait until the moment you choose, then automatically open your specified number of cans of cat or dog food, and dump them into your beloved pet’s bowl.

Do you trust a robot arm to be able to exhibit the kind of fine-grain precision movement needed to not only open a can and pop its lid, but also to place its contents neatly into a bowl and eject it? What better, lower-stakes way to test such cutting-edge innovation than by placing it in control of keeping your beloved pet alive while you’re away on vacation?

PawBot boasts a touchscreen LCD display for selecting the times to feed your furry friend. Inside, there’s a robot arm, storage space for 18 cans and multiple clean bowls, washing section for cleaning its robotic pincers, trash container, and automated can opener.

It certainly looks pretty neat from the demo on the Kickstarter campaign, although as both a pet owner and someone who sees tech screwups on a regular basis, I’m not sure that this is going to replace getting my neighbors to pop in to see how Biggles the cat is doing when I’m away.

If you do fancy getting hold of a robot pet feeder, however, you can pre-order PawBot on Kickstarter — where you’ll have to put a $140 down-payment against an eventual retail cost in the region of $3,000.

It had better work as advertised for that price!