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April 20, 2017 7:50 AM   Subscribe

Perhaps you're wondering, how does PawBot really work?
posted by theodolite (40 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
@Seems Like a Good Way to Get Your Pet to Love a Robot Instead of You but Whatever
posted by codacorolla at 7:56 AM on April 20 [5 favorites]


It's funny how they give a voice to call when it's ready like your cat wouldn't be sitting there waiting impatiently as soon as they heard that robot start creaking.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:59 AM on April 20 [24 favorites]


This really takes the hassle out of having a pet. If the robot could also pet cats then we could remove humans from the equation altogether.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:02 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


In case you're wondering about price
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:04 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


This would be good for people who travel for business and can't get someone to stop in. An auto waterer, an auto dry feeder, one of these, and the litter pan that cleans itself and you only have to worry about what will be shredded by the time you come home.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 8:13 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Wet cat food goes eeevvvvveeerywhere. I'd love to see what the inside of this unit looks like after a week of real use. And the water tank full of rinsed-off food sitting at room temperature? OMG.

Just give the cat a Juicero.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:14 AM on April 20 [17 favorites]


I kind of want a pawbot and I don't even have a cat. It's so cute, especially when it's rinsing its little hands.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:15 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


And the water tank full of rinsed-off food sitting at room temperature? OMG.

I don't know if they recommend it, but I would put some food-safe sanitizer in there.

This would be good for people who travel for business and can't get someone to stop in. An auto waterer, an auto dry feeder, one of these, and the litter pan that cleans itself and you only have to worry about what will be shredded by the time you come home.

We have all of those and we still don't trust them for more than a few days at a time. Even for $2800 I couldn't imagine trusting this thing. So many moving parts, so many steps, and no fail-safe mode.

For $2800 I'd want them to bolt-on a dry food dispenser that can kick in automatically if something goes wrong with the wet food dispenser.
posted by jedicus at 8:21 AM on April 20


I'm not sure $3500 is worth "automating" wet food delivery to Mr. Snookums. Automated dry food dispensers are much more hygienic, less prone to failure, and literally cost 100x times less.
posted by pleem at 8:22 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Another sign of the impending apocalypse...
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 8:22 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


The step where the robot removes the lid from the food can seems iffy to me. Is there is any evidence that this works independent of pawbot.com?
posted by rdr at 8:25 AM on April 20


I kind of want a pawbot and I don't even have a cat. It's so cute, especially when it's rinsing its little hands.

I'm undecided whether this was a weekend hack job that got productized with minimum extra design work, or whether it's been engineered expressly to provide an entertaining show while it's working. A purpose built machine, possibly with purpose built food containers (How did they miss the opportunity to sell squeezable food packs?!) would be more effective, more reliable, and cheaper to manufacture.
posted by CaseyB at 8:34 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Let me tell you a thing: we have an automated dry food dispenser for Chubby Cat. Because we are a one-cat household now and our daily duties no longer include having to feed two additional elderly cats (RIP, my loves) which often included wrangling cats from cross-sampling each other's foods, we were relieved that hey, we can now use the automated feeder. No more worrying about a cat being fed when we go away for the weekend! No more being trampled on at 5 am for foodly demands!

Bullshit.

Wobert (the name of the food robot) goes off at 5:15 am and pm. The cat knows this. But the cat, ingrained in her bratty ways, is still a bug about being fed, despite the fact we aren't feeding her, the robot is. I get that cats don't understand object permanence, but dammit, TRUST THAT THE ROBOT WILL FEED YOU SO WE CAN SLEEP.
posted by Kitteh at 8:36 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Sure a dry food dispenser starts out cheaper, but then you have to consider all the money and effort you spend covering it in armor.
posted by borkencode at 8:38 AM on April 20 [21 favorites]


In case you're wondering about price

For that kind of money I'd train my cat to open his own damn food cans.
posted by Splunge at 8:46 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


The text says "Plays your recorded voice!" as an obviously-synthetic voice calls out to the cat, so I can only assume that this product was created by robots, for robots.

Besides, Doc Brown did it first and, truth be told, more elegantly.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:49 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


the cat, ingrained in her bratty ways, is still a bug about being fed, despite the fact we aren't feeding her, the robot is.

It took our cat about a week to get used to the idea, so results may vary I guess. Do your morning or evening routines take you anywhere near the robot prior to feeding time? We set it up so that we don't go near it, hopefully underscoring that we do not control when food happens.

I get that cats don't understand object permanence

Cats do have some forms of object permanence. They understand when objects are visibly moved behind an obstacle, but they get tripped up when objects are invisibly moved (i.e. they can't look at an empty container and infer that the object must have been moved somewhere else. They just keep searching around the container and eventually give up.).
posted by jedicus at 8:49 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Considering my cat is scared of every single thing in the house, this would surely cure her of the desire to eat forever.
posted by xingcat at 9:02 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


See, I think you all have this backwards. Let's skip the robot feeder, and head straight to the robot pets. I really think a feline AIBO might have done better. Like it is hard to program it to head to the nearest high spot, knock things over, and completely ignore the user's commands. I mean, really...
posted by Samizdata at 9:15 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


I'm undecided whether this was a weekend hack job that got productized with minimum extra design work

There is apparently supposed to be a kickstarter lauching today so the answer is yes, this is a weekend hack job that, for $3000, will never ship.
posted by muddgirl at 9:15 AM on April 20


They understand when objects are visibly moved behind an obstacle, but they get tripped up when objects are invisibly moved

TV used to confuse the crap out of my cat. Birds would fly off the edge of the screen, and then she'd go look around the back of the TV and nope, no birds.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:15 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Yeah it reeks of weekend hack job, but they put a bunch of work into custom molded plastic (like the housings and the cute little paw designs cut into the robot arms).

Plus a housing for the robot arm sensor that has that annoying "LEDS ARE BLINKING IN COLORS SO THIS IS DOING SOMETHING!" thing.

If it's a Kickstarter I think it will definitely ship. But it will work 10% of the time people expect it to.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:20 AM on April 20


Is it weird that we've decided to refer to it as 'wet' food?

Next time I order soup at a diner, I'm going to say "I'll have a bowl of wet food, please."
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:27 AM on April 20 [5 favorites]


Is it weird that we've decided to refer to it as 'wet' food?

Do you have a better word for "gelatinous meta-state between gravy and soup infused with quasi-solid particles of meat-something"?
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:32 AM on April 20 [9 favorites]


My cats eat the pâté-style food from Trader Joe's. Pâté. Sometimes it winds up on top of their heads or on their backs. I have no idea how it gets there.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:35 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Samizdata: Let's skip the robot feeder, and head straight to the robot pets.

But for a genuine pet experience, the robot pet should still eat, right? So you get a robot feeder for your robot pet. #TheCircleOfArtificialLife
posted by adamrice at 9:44 AM on April 20


This would be good for people who travel for business and can't get someone to stop in. An auto waterer, an auto dry feeder, one of these, and the litter pan that cleans itself and you only have to worry about what will be shredded by the time you come home.

It sounds like our fully automated, post-scarcity Star Trek livelihoods finally got here... for the cats of the wealthy.
posted by codacorolla at 9:52 AM on April 20 [4 favorites]


Best part is the integrated garbage can inside the robot.

My cat vs this would be .. amusing. I'll bet the robot arm would get caught and shredded by her on the second day.
posted by joeyh at 10:00 AM on April 20


but they put a bunch of work into custom molded plastic (like the housings and the cute little paw designs cut into the robot arms).

The robot arms look 3d printed and then polished to me. The housing does look nice but there are sharp, visible seams in some places suggesting that the robot components are a separate unit inside the enclosure, not necessarily a completely custom-molded unit.

Also, hope that plastic is food safe!
posted by muddgirl at 10:02 AM on April 20


Man, that is one Rube Goldberg contraption - I just about lost it at the rinse bowls for the robotic tongs. I am not saying I could design a better one, but I sure wouldn't design one with so many separate operations/points of failure.

@ borkencode - thanks, that made my morning! I love how the cat's abuse of the machine basically pushes the owner/fabricator to weld up a prison-worthy cat vending machine food dispenser.
posted by mosk at 10:17 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Do you have a better word for "gelatinous meta-state between gravy and soup infused with quasi-solid particles of meat-something"?

Cat poutine
posted by zippy at 10:33 AM on April 20 [4 favorites]


My dad hacked together a primitive version of this machine together way back when after being shocked by the shoddy, expensive CatMate products. We called it the AutoCat 2000TM after the AutoMat restaurants. Had he lived to see the rise of Arduino, Dad would have never emerged from his workshop.
posted by carmicha at 10:39 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Having had experience with a very similar machine that prepares IV admixtures for hospitals, I can say with some confidence that this will break approximately every 72 hours.
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:47 AM on April 20 [6 favorites]


I was laughing so hard at that that a coworker came by to check on me. Apparently, seeing me with my head down , a red face , tears, and shoulders shaking looks quite alarming.

So the robot (very vigorously!) washes its arms, only to stick them back into the dirty bowl to retrieve it. I like the visual of the robot feeding the pets while the family is standing around ignoring the pet and watching the robot with great interest.
posted by Fig at 11:01 AM on April 20 [4 favorites]


Man. We pay the neighbour's kid $10 Canadian a day to feed, play with, and clean up after our cat when we are out of town. We could hire her to take care of the cat for a year for what this thing would cost. And it still wouldn't entertain the cat or scoop his box.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:04 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


The person responsible for teaching presenters to hold their hands like that deserves to be shot.
posted by Captain Fetid at 12:44 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


That video had a weird sort of magic eye effect, as if I could actually see half opened cans oozing out onto an increasingly tilted tower of consistently but slightly misplaced cardboard bowls, the robot arm futilely vibrating in the corner, unable to reach its long dry wash basin.
posted by lucidium at 2:30 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]


The dog ran upstairs, hysterically yelping to each door, at last realizing, as the house realized, that only silence was here.
It sniffed the air and scratched the kitchen door. Behind the door, the stove was making pancakes which filled the house with a rich baked odor and the scent of maple syrup.
The dog frothed at the mouth, lying at the door, sniffing, its eyes turned to fire. It ran wildly in circles, biting at its tail, spun in a frenzy, and died. It lay in the parlor for an hour.
Two o'clock, sang a voice.
Delicately sensing decay at last, the regiments of [robot] mice hummed out as softly as blown gray leaves in an electrical wind.
Two-fifteen.
The dog was gone.
In the cellar, the incinerator glowed suddenly and a whirl of sparks leaped up the chimney.
Two thirty-five.
- There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury
posted by numaner at 7:19 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Well, that got dark quickly...

Do you have a better word for "gelatinous meta-state between gravy and soup infused with quasi-solid particles of meat-something"?

In our house, we call it gooshy food.
posted by cheshyre at 4:45 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


See, I think you all have this backwards. Let's skip the robot feeder, and head straight to the robot pets.

They just need to bring back Petster and update the guidance module so it runs on something a little more sophisticated than tech shamelessly swiped from The Clapper [TM]. Maybe just mount the thing on a Roomba, the footprint is similar enough.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:01 AM on April 21


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