Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on May 27, 2014.
About this project
Live demonstration using the app! Here a user of PetPal by PeTreaT uses the app remotely to access our feeder. He demonstrates feeding and speaking via the app. To try it for yourself, please email us at email@example.com to get access to the app and unique camera code!
Ken, Thank you for taking the time to demo your feeder for us.
The app is very intuitive; it is simple yet not cryptic. All the functions are easily accessible without cluttering the screen. Some feeders allow for scheduling, but don't allow you to visually verify all your pets are getting fed. The 2 way audio is great for calling your pets and hearing what they have to say. I am excited for this campaign to get funded, every pet owner should be pledging to get a PetPal. I will keep passing the word around to help out.
List of current capabilities:
- Easy to connect to WiFi – Start feeding your pets remotely in minutes! No port forwarding required.
- Food Reservior holds approximately 15 lbs (50 cups) of food.
- All stainless steel construction makes for an easy and quick to clean up. Easy and quick to refill and a blast to use!
- Access your PetPal automatic WiFi pet feeder via mobile or tablet application anywhere you have internet connectivity! The Android app is complete and functioning, and the Apple iOS app will be completed soon!
- Interact with your pet at anytime of the day or night, whether you are in your own bed at home, or in at a hotel on the opposite side of the world.
- Five programmable feeding times per 24 hour period, each with a separate programmable volume of food delivered to your pet.
- Feed by a push of a button on top of the PetPal lid, or use the FeedME button on the mobile application to feed when you are at home, or virtually anywhere in the world!
- Take a photo or video of your pet with a push of a button, and look at all the photos and videos using the PetPal application.
- The PetPal automatic WiFi pet feeder has motion sensing capabilities. When turned on, the camera module will take a 30 second video when motion is detected. The videos will be stored on a removable MicroSD card. You can see when and if your pet had breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- When food level is low or empty, an email alert is sent and an indicator light becomes active.
- You are able to setup a user login that has limited abilities, which will allow you to give limited access to your friends or family members without the ability to feed or change settings.
Why I created the PetPal Automatic WiFi Pet Feeder:
When I looked for a pet feeder for the two cats that adopted my house about 5 years ago, I saw that there was nothing on the market that would fulfill all of my requirements. So, I decided to design my own.
I started with the following requirements:
- The ability to automatically feed on a schedule
- Protection against ants and other insects from getting into the food reservoirs
- All heavy-duty stainless steel construction, for the ability to use outdoors
One year later, I added more requirements:
- See my cats in real-time to make sure they were safe when I was away
- Listen to the environment where my cats are having their meal
- Talk to my cats that are next to the pet feeder
- The ability to feed my cats myself when I am out of town using a button on my phone or tablet
- The ability to take photos and videos with a push of a button
- Quick, easy and effortless initial set up
- Refilling the food reservoir should be quick and easy
- The PetPal automatic WiFi pet feeder will be built like my old Sunbeam toaster - BUILT TO LAST A VERY LONG TIME! My Sunbeam toaster is over 40 years old and still works well, and we designed the all stainless steel construction of the pet feeder to last just as long. The lid is designed to be upgraded as technology advances.
Founder and Inventor - Ken Powers
PetPal was founded by Ken Powers. For the past 23 years Ken has been an executive at KSA, a company that supplies electronic components to design engineers. He has worked with engineers of all types, mechanical, chemical, aerospace, and electrical, from those designing upgrades for the F15 radar system, to engineers designing the next cell phone. Before KSA, Ken worked as an electrical engineer at General Dynamics on test systems for the F16, and at Northrop Grumman designing launch software for spacecraft. Ken graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
Mechanical Engineering Manager - Kevin Chivatakarn
Kevin graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Mechanical Engineering degree. He has been working in product design and development for a global leading edge semiconducting fabrication company for the past five years. He designs and analyzes simple and complex assemblies using various grades of graphite, ceramics, plastics and refractory metals to ensure form, fit, and function requirements. Kevin began working with PetPal in July 2012 developing mechanical designs and material specifications. He evaluates designs for manufacturing feasibility and technical justification for design approach. He implements his design for manufacturing knowledge for product cost reduction. He is a proud and lovable owner of his best friend Rocky, a cocker spaniel/shepherd mix, who loves the PetPal automatic WiFi pet feeder!
Electrical Engineering Manager - Mike Calnan
Mike has been working in high tech for the over 30 years. He is an expert in hardware, software, and firmware design, and, yes, he knows how to solder under microscope. In the past Mike has worked with Tourmaline Networks as an Electrical Engineer implementing programmable Logic designs, a field applications engineer for Altera, and at Tiernan Communications he was an Electrical Engineer designing Commercial Broadcast Equipment. Mike graduated from the McGill University with a BSEE.
Intellectual Property – Les Overman
The Law Office of Leslie B. Overman provides patent procurement and intellectual property counseling services for the PetPal project. Les, an inventor himself, is an experienced registered patent attorney having been a lawyer at AmLaw 100 firms until opening his own practice. He is a member of the Executive Board of the San Diego Intellectual Property Law Association, a former chair of the San Diego Chapter of the Licensing Executives Society (LES), and a member of the Intellectual Property and the Public Policy Oversight Committees for BIOCOM, a leading regional trade association in the life science industry.
Marketing & Development - Justin Lyons & Randy P.
Justin and Randy have an e-commerce and internet marketing background. Having built many successful online campaigns and online commerce companies, they continue to use their experience to help bring PetPal to the masses.
History of PeTreaT, LLC:
- November 2011 - The first pet feeder was built so Ken could travel to Thailand for two weeks. This prototype was used for approximately 12 months, and was the first automatic feeder using PeTreaT's patent pending design. The feeder used a 24 hour timer, and a one shot pulse generator to drive the feed motor. The prototype worked for the entire year without an issue. The product just needed an improved look.
- November 2012 - The second feeder was built with a slightly improved look. The mechanical design was changed, making the outer structure smaller, and incorporating a double thread ACME screw to replace the single threaded screw. These were all big improvements. Though the design again worked well, it still didn't look good enough or have all the features desired.
- June 2012 - A WiFi Camera was added, and completed the custom software. The pet feeder could now be controlled over an internet connection, and Ken and his wife could see their two adopted cats at anytime, from anywhere they had an internet connection.
- August 2012 - Ken's friends loved the concept of the pet feeder and encouraged him to mass produce the pet feeder. It was at this point that Ken started designing a pet feeder that could be mass produced.
- January 2013 - The PetPal mechanical engineers complete the first Solidworks design of the pet feeder.
- February 2013 - As soon as the design for the screw was completed, a manufacturer was located and samples were ordered. The screw is the heart of PetPal, and Ken needed to know that it could be made economically. Custom samples were received and incorporated into the prototypes.
- March 2013 - The lid was difficult to line up during assembly, so the mechanical engineering team designed a custom motor coupler for the pet feeder. The couplers worked flawlessly. This custom coupler was a major breakthrough, creating a product that could be easily assembled without the difficulty of aligning the top.
- April 2013 - The electrical engineering team came up with a robust, and repeatable design for the 5V power supply and motor control. The team spent 3 long nights on the bench soldering prototype boards together. After just a few jumpers, our design came to life! The firmware for the motor controller board was also completed, but there will be minor firmware changes in the future.
- June 2013 - We reduced the cost and size of the power and motor control board. The size of the board is now merely 2" x 2" and this will be the same size as the production board. The engineering team will have to change the layout for final production board.
- July 2013 - The first stainless steel prototypes were manufactured using the Solidworks drawings. They were so shiny and beautiful, it was an accomplishment worth celebrating!
- August 2013 - We manufactured the lids using a large format 3D printer. They looked amazing and all the components installed easily. The final design of the lid will ensure a perfect fit for all components.
WHERE WE ARE TODAY:
- We have completed the custom WiFi and IP camera board, speaker, microphone and IP camera software.
- The Android app is complete and functioning, and the IOS app was uploaded to ITunes May 24, 2014.
- The software for the IP camera is complete.
- Stainless steel sheet metal design completed in Solidworks, prototypes delivered and tested. The tooling for the stainless steel bowls are completed, and a few parts have been delivered on production tooling. The prototype units built at the factory look great!
- The Stainless Steel ACME Screw design is complete, and testing has been completed.
- As of May 25, 2014 the design of the lid is almost DONE, and should be done next week.
- The custom motor coupler design has been completed in Solidworks, and the testing has been completed on prototypes printed on a 3D printer.
Thank you for supporting this amazing new project on Kickstarter!
Risks and challenges
We have over 65 years of engineering and production experience among the PeTreaT team. We are confident we can make this happen for our backers, and we have lined up great suppliers that are chomping at the bit to start production. I would have to say the biggest hurdle is getting high quality stainless steel at a reasonable prices. And we will not compromise on quality.
The PetPal Automatic WiFi Pet Feeder has gone through extensive testing over the past 3 years. The latest prototypes have been working for 9 months and have been though constant testing and evaluation. We have made many improvements over the past few years, and we believe that the product will be ready for you soon after completion of our Kickstarter campaign.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
You’re protected from unwanted guests by multiple aspects! You can secure the lid with two retaining pins (included) to prevent unwanted guests from removing the lid to gain access to the food reservoir. Due to the unique patent-pending design of the PetPal automatic WiFi pet feeder, unwanted guests cannot reach the food reservoir from any openings of the pet feeder!
Yes, you have full control of the amount of food you feet your pets.Whether you pre-set feed times or manual feed, you control the amount of food your pet requires.
Watch the video here demonstrating this.
- (45 days)