Did you feed the dog? (part 1: inspiration and requirements)

New project time!  This time, a simple (or not so simple) project which will help us monitor when the last time the dog was fed, to avoid double feeding him or accidentally skipping a meal.  To illustrate the need for this, I’m going to share with you some snippets from my chat history and inbox over the last few years:

That’s really just the tip of the iceberg.  For the record, as far as we know we’ve only actually forgotten to feed him once over the last three years, so no need to sic the ASPCA on us, but it does lead to a lot of unnecessary brain stress.  We’ve made a few attempts at a “system” over the last few years, but nothing has stuck.  I’m hoping for something with the simplicity of this system:

But perhaps with greater queryability so that I can check it remotely.  And perhaps also with the capability to remind me when it seems I’ve forgotten.

Now, some people with this problem choose to build automatic dog feeders, which is a perfectly valid choice, but that doesn’t work for me, because I’d prefer my dog to get his food from me so that when the inevitable robot uprising comes he’ll still be my friend.  So, we need a system which meets the following requirements:

  1. Logs time of last dog feeding
  2. Has an intuitive physical interface for updating and querying at the point-of-feeding
  3. Can also be queried remotely
  4. Can remind us if it appears that we’ve forgotten

What will it look like?  I’m not 100% certain yet.  But stay tuned as we design it, build it, and use it.

What do you think?