Chauncy Bigglesworth, the Aristocratic Dog Food Dispenser

Playing off the idea of Lee’s Nom Nom trash bin, I wanted to make a creature that was similar in functionality, but when it came to character and personality, acted as a foil. Originally, I conceived of a recycling bin that, as opposed to a nom nom, wasn’t single-mindedly focused and primitive in his expressions, but rather was conscientious and thoughtful. It seemed especially appropriate considering the difference in the motives between throwing away something and recycling it.

But this didn’t really jibe with me personally, and I also had the problem of my recycling setup at home wasn’t really conducive for making a stand-alone character that would convey it’s own individuality in an interesting way. So, this led me to look for other things that could act as a talking bin.

Fortunately, after a bit of looking around, I realized that my dog’s food is kept in a contraption like Lee’s trash can, and the idea of a talking dog food dispenser amused me greatly. Not only does it do the opposite of a trash bin (it provides instead of consumes), I also really liked that it could potentially talk to my dog, who seemed to be the most interested in the beeps and boops that my arduino can make. Lastly, using an upper-class British character as a model for my creatures words (I was thinking of Stephen Fry), seemed much funnier and silly and ironic on a dog food dispenser than on a recycling bin, which came across as haughty and judgmental.

Building and coding Chauncy was fairly straight-forward. My LCD screen came together pretty much right away, but unfortunately the anode wire of the LED backlight came out just after I taped the parts into their final position. This made it so that the light no longer came on when a new message was flash, but the plus side is that it probably saved my battery a good deal of juice.

Here’s what the electronic components looked like:

Chauncy's insides

And here’s a sample of the early version working:

In order to have Chauncy’s head on the outside, but the light sensor in the can, I had to use some wire wrapping wire to extend the photoresistor. With the low light in my kitchen, I had to attach it to the side but near where the ceiling light shined brightest.

light sensor in a can

And here’s the finished product!

Chauncy message 2

If you would like to see the arduino code, feel free to download it here.