If you raise animals that graze, you’ll want to check this out.: There’s a post on Paca Pride Guest Ranch explaining how to turn 5lbs of barley grain into 25lbs of fresh, live sprouts in a very small hydroponic footprint.
Barley sprouts are a superior feed for ruminants that takes a small amount of grain and, via a hydroponic growing process, turns it into a highly digestible, fresh mat in 7-9 days giving a high yield in a very small footprint of space. This approach represents a reduction in feed costs as we change from a diet of dry hay and dry pelleted grain rations to a diet of fresh greens supplemented with hay for fiber and roughage.
Dave Bryan added a Raspberry Pi and a couple of continuous-rotation servos to a commercial cat feeder to make it dispense automatically:
Back in February I started teaching my Raspberry Pi 101 class at The Hack Factory. After the first class I think I had Pi on the brain, I was scheduled for a quick weekend trip out of town with my girlfriend, and she was due to leave her two cats behind. She said that she was going to leave a large bowl of cat food out, and with that I suggested that I build an automated cat feeder for them.
Enter Your Project In Our Raspberry Pi Design Contest
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“Has your cat left scratch marks on everything from grandmother’s kneecaps to your grandfather clock? It’s time to train Kitty to use this scratching post instead of everything else in your home.” Phil Bowie and Larry Cotton are here to help with their Cat Scratch Feeder project that appears on the pages of MAKE Volume 33. Their simple design combines scratching post and treat dispenser, sure to get Kitty’s undivided attention and keep it. Essentially all it takes is some wood, PVC, an extension spring, aluminum flat bar, a piece of carpet scrap, and a weekend in your workshop.
A catnip cup in the top will attract your cat and place her in natural scratching position. Each time the cat claws downward on the spring-loaded carpeted cylinder, this device will deliver up to 4 special treats. Because you control the number of treats, you can keep your cat lean and gradually wean her off the treats altogether as she becomes accustomed to using the post, if you wish.
Below are a few glimpses from the project: drilling and assembling the treat disk, and putting together the spring assembly inside the body tube. The full project how-to is available starting on page 108 of MAKE Volume 33 and here on Make: Projects.
MAKE Volume 33: Software for Makers
In our special Codebox section you’ll learn about software of interest to makers, including circuit board design, 3D CAD and printing, microcontrollers, and programming for kids. And you’ll meet fascinating makers, like the maniacs behind the popular Power Wheels Racing events at Maker Faire. You’ll get 22 great DIY projects like the Optical Tremolo guitar effect, “Panjolele” cake-pan ukelele, Wii Nunchuk Mouse, CNC joinery tricks, treat-dispensing cat scratching post, brewing sake, and more.
MAKE contributor Jonathan Foote turned an motion-activated candy dispenser into a cat feeder with the addition of an Evil Mad Science Art Controller coupled with an ordinary vacation timer. The Art Controller is a board with an ATtiny2313 and a relay, and is designed to be a simple solution for laypeople to safely trigger high voltage. Jonathan has the controller set to automatically trigger the relay when it powers up, so it immediately dispenses when the timer kicks in.
I hooked up the motor to the timed switch, and set it to run for seven seconds when it gets power, as it does when triggered by a timer. Since I had a 5V power supply I removed the voltage regulator from the art controller and used the holes for pin headers to connect the existing power supply and motor wires. The resulting hack will reliably and elegantly deliver meals to my favorite pet.
Turn an old wooden bowl into an awesome acorn bird feeder with this simple tutorial from Tried & True.
Such a great last-minute gift idea for bird watchers and nature lovers!
For the last couple of years, I’ve become interested in the “quantified self” movement (also known as self-tracking and bio-hacking). QSers like to measure everything they can about themselves: how long they sleep, how well they sleep, how many calories they consume and burn, their blood pressure, their blood glucose levels, their brainwaves, and so on. They do this because they want to find out how their health and sense of well being is affected by their behavior. To find out more about the quantified self movement, visit the Quantified Self blog, started by Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf.
The Pulse Sensor is a quantified self device designed by Joel Murphy and Yuri Gitman of New York University. As they describe it, it’s a “well-designed plug-and-play heart-rate sensor for Arduino. It can be used by students, artists, athletes, makers, and game & mobile developers who want to easily incorporate live heart-rate data into their projects.”
They’ll be showing the Pulse Sensor at World Maker Faire New York this weekend, and will also be giving a presentation called “Incorporating Biofeedback into your Arduino Projects” on Sunday at 3:30pm. I’m definitely going to sit in on this!
Maker Faire Project Profile
Here’s some amazing work from maker Blair Kelly:
Arduino Wifly Mini is a remotely operated vehicle that communicates over a WiFi network, can be controlled with an XBOX 360 or PS3 controller, or G27 steering wheel, or any other controller that can be manipulated with Processing’s ProControll library, and features force-feedback and a first-person view. Presently only the G27 wheel and a Logitech F510 controller rumble properly with force-feedback.
My favorite part is that the point-of-view camera inside the car can be set to pan in the direction that you’re steering so that you can see where you’re going. I also love that he implemented force feedback to the controller triggered from sensors on the car. If you’d like to know how he did it all, boy are you in luck. Blair documented this project in incredible detail. Nice work!
Becky’s latest project over at adafruit shows off some of the possibilities of the cool surplus vending machine coin acceptors they just added to their catalog. It has an Arduino for brains, an LCD shield to report your balance, and an LED that makes piggy squeal glow when you feed him teh monies. The more loot in your hoard, the brighter he glows. And of course it’s done with the usual sparkling clarity and attention to detail that Becky brings to all her videos.
I have to say, looking at those coin acceptor modules has me scheming one of those machines that trains birds to trade coins they find on the ground for food. [Thanks, Becky!]
I’m pretty darn impressed with the creativity that went into designing this recycled spoon and bottle hummingbird feeder from Nicole at Shabby Beach Nest.
In honor of Mother Earth—and because I was feeling guilty for all those bottles I chucked into the garbage bin when Maddy and I ventured to the park—I decided to transform my bottles of water into hummingbird feeders.
- How-To: Heart-Shaped Bird Feeder @Craftzine.com blog
- How-To: Cutting Board Bird Feeder @Craftzine.com blog
- How-To: Acorn Bird Feeder @Craftzine.com blog
- Recycled Teacup Birdfeeder @Craftzine.com blog