Meet eSleeper, The Automated Arduino-Powered Kitteh Bed

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[Photo: Sam Cox]
Cats make it no secret that, not only do they like to sleep whenever and wherever they can, but they like to do so in maximum comfort. A modern take on the cat bed, named eSleeper, will not only make your kitteh happy, but also the nostalgic geek inside you.

Sam Cox, who as you may recall was also behind the GigaLinc project and had automated his house, created the eSleeper for his cat Toby. eSleeper is made of an eMac that had its innards stripped from it. In place of computer components are some soft kitteh-friendly furnishings.

OK, that by itself isn't anything revolutionary--others have made similar kitteh retreats out of old computers. The magic really happens when the cat enters the futuristic sleeping chamber.

Upon entering the eSleeper, the kitteh breaks an infrared beam, which alerts the Arduino inside the basket via an Ethernet connection. The eSleeper will play the Mac startup sound and turn on an RGB LED light. As the cat gets comfortable and falls asleep, the LED light continuously glows various colors at a steady pace, creating a pretty chilled atmosphere.

Once the cat has had enough of sleeping and gets up, the Arduino will pick up that that cat has left the eSleeper and it'll turn off the lights. Oh, and it also sends a Tweet to its own Twitter account, stating how long the cat was asleep (as well as a cute phrase).

Check out the eSleeper in action, demonstrated by Toby himself:

Sam adds:

"My cat loves sleeping, preferably in one location. Instead of buying him a replacement basket, I decided to bring cat baskets into the digital age and built eSleeper.
"Above and beyond this point, I wanted to produce and learn something that uses Arduino in a way that I've not done before. Reading 'How to' articles on websites is all well and good, but the best way to learn is to actually make something yourself.
"Secondly, I like the concept of using something in a way that it wasn't initially designed for. Retrofitting old technology is a good way of recycling machines."

While eSleeper is already pretty cool, Sam is also looking to perhaps add further functionality to the cat pad.

He notes: “I wanted to modify a DVD drive to hold cat biscuits, so periodically it would grant the cat with a treat. This unfortunately had to be dropped. The DVD drive would have taken a considerable amount of space, which is a little limited inside.“

This is certainly one way to make use of those big old computer monitors stored away in your house!

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