Internet of Starving Pets: animals go hungry after "smart feeder" fails

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/02/27/internet-of-starving-pets-ani.html

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This is Skynet getting sneaky. 6’+ walking metal endoskeletons with guns are a bit loud, so it’s trying the “every dog is only two meals away from being a wolf” approach.

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Why on earth would it be a requirement to be connected in order to dispense food?

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We have a mechanical feeder chosen as least likely to jam, with a separate cloud-connected camera to make sure it’s working.

I would worry about anything that needs a cloud service and my Internet and my wifi all to work for my cat to get fed.

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To be fair, sometimes my pets go hungry because my kids fail to feed them…

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Reminds me of “The S in IOT Stands for Security”, can add in “R stand for Reliability” to that… :wink:

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How else are they supposed to gather data on those marketing gateways for animal owners precious pets? The very best feeders include a camera for food purchase details and behavioral/upselling cues fur baby communication and safety, too! :wink:

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Agreed. Cats who don’t get fed can be scary…

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as the owner of one of these, i can offer some perspective: the issue reported is apparently affecting only the 2nd generation of their feeders (the white models, as shown). I have a first-gen model, which is black, and we have not experienced any of the issues the 2nd gen models have.

as for why we need an internet connected feeder, i can’t tell you how many times we’ve been out later than we expected to be, and it’s very very nice to be able to just open my app and feed our cats at their usual time. it’s been helpful for times we’re out of town and our pet sitter suddenly can’t make it to our house because her schedule has changed, or the weather was too bad, or what have you – i just feed them remotely. it’s great. also, there is no camera on these feeders. not sure where that idea came from.

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Oh look, an IoT solution that really is disruptive.

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Paradoxically, your kids are more likely to forget the more internet connected they are.

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That you know of…

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My cat operates on the same system as Matt (Oatmeal) Inman’s. Never a problem!

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That’s undoubtedly a good reason to make internet control an option. It’s not a good reason to make internet control the sole method of control.

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I have one of the first gen feeders as well. I have had very few problems with it. Then again, I use it for supplemental feeding rather than primary feeding. In general my cats prefer wet food.

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“As we go towards a more automated home you have to acknowledge that, somewhere along the line, things will fall over,” said Stuart Miles, founder of the tech site Pocket-Lint.

"Robots and automated systems have hiccups along the way, it’s something we need to get used to."

No, it’s fucking NOT.

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To match the litter boxes that send you a push notification when Fluffy takes a dump. I sh*t you not.

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This can be useful, actually. When you have a cat with UT or kidney issues, you generally start to obsess over litter box use as it can literally become a matter of life and death.

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