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.

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