Hello, kitty: Feline facial recognition lets this feeder track your cat’s diet

Mu-Chi Sung has three cats: Momo, Feifei, and ZongZong. One day, he returned home to find Momo strangely paralyzed and howling in pain, so he rushed her to the vet. There, he discovered that his furry little friend had pancreatitis — a condition which had caused her to stop eating for the past few days. Sung hadn’t even noticed because he has several cats, and favors an open, free-feeding setup to keep them all nourished. Momo ended up making it through the ordeal, but not without suffering some serious losses, so when it was all said and done, Sung wanted to make sure that nothing like this ever happened again.

That’s how Sung hatched the idea for Bistro. Currently raising funds for production on Indiegogo, Bistro is a smart cat feeder from 42Ark that can intelligently track the eating and drinking habits of your cats. The idea is that, by having easy access to this information, you’ll know about your pet’s loss of appetite before it becomes a serious problem.

Here’s how the whole thing works. The device consists of a food hopper, a feeding tray with a load sensor, a water bowl (also with a load sensor), a weighing platform for your cat to stand on, and a camera. With the help of some specially-engineered feline facial recognition software, the feeder can actually recognize each one of your cats, and use the rest of the system’s sensors to track their individual food and water intake, and bodyweight. It even has an LED lighting system that slowly comes on at night, so it can still see your cat’s face when it gets dark.

As with most “smart” devices, Bistro beams all of this information to an accompanying mobile app, allowing pet owners to follow the heath stats of their cats, and even check in on them with live video feeds. If there’s ever a major change in one of your kitty’s diet or weight, the app will let you know with a push notification.

The device isn’t quite finished just yet, but 42Ark has produced a working prototype and is almost finished with the Bistro mobile app, so there’s not much work left to bring this badboy to market. To raise the funds needed for volume production, the company has turned to the crowdfunding community on Indiegogo, and is already just a few thousand dollars short of it’s $100,000 funding goal. All the early bird backer rewards have already been snagged up, but if you back the project now, you can lock down one of these futuristic feline feeders for $200.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Dog or cat shedding? These vacuums do a great job of sucking up pet hair

Got a pet hair problem? Fortunately, there's help for you and your furry friend. We tested out a bunch of vacuums that promise to remove pet hair. Here are a few of the best you can buy.
Smart Home

The best air fryers deliver fried food with a fraction of the calories

What is this magical mechanism? It's an air fryer, and when used correctly, it can mimic the effects of frying while using just a little bit of oil. You still get that crispy, golden exterior and the fluffy center.
Smart Home

Ring Alarm vs. Nest Secure: Which one is right for you?

Thanks to the advance of technology, it's become really easy nowadays to secure your home and protect it from thieves, intruders, and unwanted guests. Which one of these two top contenders is right for you?
Smart Home

Amazon sent me a Christmas tree. Did it leave me pining for more?

Is driving to a Christmas tree lot or farm to get some fresh pine a daunting task that you dread every year? Good news: Amazon is now selling real Christmas trees with free shipping. We decided to order one to see how it went.

You don't want to sleep on these red-hot bedding deals

We've rounded up some of the best discounts and sales happening right now, so you can buy yourself (or your loved ones) new bedding without breaking your budget. Trust us when we say these are deals worth losing sleep over.

Best deals for smart home plugs that control your lights and appliances

Smart hubs and speakers play central communication and management roles in your home, but smart plugs let you add lights and appliances to your system. Any smart plug you buy must support one feature or anything you plug in stays dumb.

G’day, Google: U.S. users can now give Assistant a British or Australian accent

U.S. Google Assistant users can give their Assistant a different voice. Google has updated Assistant with the ability for users to give it either a British or Australian accent, which could make it a little more personal for some.
Smart Home

Knock, knock. Who's there? With a video doorbell, you'll never have to guess

When it comes to knowing who's at your door before you actually open it, there's nothing better than a video doorbell. Plus, you can "answer" the door even if you're not home. Here are some of our favorites.
Smart Home

These wireless security cameras are a wire-free way to protect your home

Home security cameras can give you piece of mind, but if they have wires, are limited in where you can put them. We've rounded up the best battery-operated home security cameras to give you flexibility along with your security.
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Smart Home

With a simple command, Alexa can arm all your security devices

Alexa customers can query status plus arm or disarm home security systems several companies. New Alexa Guard skills set your home to away mode, send alerts when alarms or sensors go off, and contact home security monitoring services.
Smart Home

Voice assistant-enabled Deebot N79S robot vacuum now deeply discounted

The Ecovacs Deebot N79 is more powerful and quieter than its predecessor and adds Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility. Ready to make cleaning easier than ever, this voice-enabled bot will vacuum your home on spoken command.
Smart Home

Facebook Portal and Portal+ video-calling devices gain new content and features

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.