A dog-lover has invented a high-tech way to feed his pet by sending him a Twitter message.
Computer buff Nat Morris, 30, has rigged up a system to give his Border Terrier Toby a “tweet treat” from an automated food dispenser whenever he sends the message ‘feed’ to ‘@FeedToby’.
The message is received by a mini-computer known as a Nanode microcontroller. This is linked up to little motor taken from a household printer HP Deskjet 500.
When the mini-computer receives the message, the buzzer goes off and Toby comes running over and sits beneath a tube under his feeder contraption.
Then the motor comes to life and pulls open a trap door, which releases a serving of food.
The doggy treat then comes dropping down the tube and into Toby’s food bowl.
A digital camera then takes a photo of him and sends it back to Morris on Twitter – so he knows Toby has been fed.
The IT consultant spends a lot of time working away from home and isn’t always able to feed his Border Terrier by hand.
But using his new invention he is able to send his dog a treat from anywhere in the world.
“Toby absolutely loves it. At first he didn’t know what was going on,” the Daily Mail quoted Morris as saying.
“Now he sits underneath, wagging his tail and waiting for the treats to drop,” he said.
Morris loads up the feeder with crushed dog biscuits but not too much in case four-year-old Toby gets too many messages.
When a comment is received the mechanism drops a helping of crushed up dog biscuits out of the tube.
Morris has even rigged up an online camera so he can see Toby enjoying the food at his home in Milford Haven, West Wales.
He is even considering patenting his system, and friends and family have been amazed with the “Tweet treat” dispenser.
They have been joining in to send tweets to Toby so Morris has had to introduce restrictions to make sure Toby doesn’t put on much weight.
“People have been sending him food at all hours of the day – so I had to limit it to between nine in the morning to nine in the evening.
“I’m thinking of doing an updated version which features a scale to weigh him before he is fed just to make sure he’s not putting on too much puppy fat,” he added.
Although the system was originally designed for Nat and Toby, anyone can now join in and help feed the dog. If you tweet “feed” @FeedToby, the machine will dispense food. Other valid commands include “help,” “about,” and “photo.” Don’t worry about over-stuffing little Toby, the machine will only give out food every 15 minutes.