The idea for the smart cat wheel comes from the owner of a pair of felines named Jasper and Ruben, who has opted to remain anonymous while his or her pets enjoy the spotlight. The build utilizes a Raspberry Pi to add some rather impressive stat tracking capabilities to a standard cat wheel.
A GPIO pin on the Raspberry Pi is connected to a coil sensor situated behind the wheel — the wheel itself has been outfitted with several ferrous nails to make sure that the sensor can detect its revolutions, according to a report on the Raspberry Pi blog.
The finished product also boasts a video camera that can keep an eye on Jasper and Ruben as they enjoy their workout. Stats like when each cat used the wheel, their maximum speed, how far they managed to travel and the length of time they spent exercising are recorded by the Raspberry Pi, based on information from the sensor.
Even better, the cats’ owner can check in on the current status of the wheel via a private live-stream. This feed shows live video from the apparatus, overlaid with the latest data being collected by the Raspberry Pi.
The creator of the project has shared details of how the sensors and the Raspberry Pi were attached to the cat wheel and set up in this Imgur gallery. For more information on how the wheel itself was built — several sheets of galvanized steel and a rolling machine were required — check out this supplemental gallery.