Ben helps furry feline friends get in gear with automated cat exercise build on element14's "The Ben Heck Show"

Cat fitness build utilizes electronics "leftovers" and is available for show fans (and cat enthusiasts) to win through the element14 community

21 November, 2011 – London, In the spirit of the holiday season, element14, the first collaborative community and electronics store for design engineers, and modding guru Ben Heck, use electronics “leftovers” to create an automated cat exercise machine in the latest episode of “The Ben Heck Show.” The star component of Ben’s latest build is a laser pointer – offering hours and hours of non-stop fun for cats.

“Cats have a reputation for being lazy – and for good reason – so I wanted to create something that would motivate our little furry friends to get moving, especially after indulging in a big holiday meal,” said Ben. “This was a fun build because it allowed me to make use of quite a few electronics components that might not have been utilized otherwise. I always like the chance to give leftovers new life, especially for a good cause – a healthier lifestyle choice for cats.”

Ben’s electronics leftovers – PIC32 microcontrollers, motors, chip kits, and more – play an integral role in this latest mod, where he programs the entire build using a mini development board created by his longtime friend, the Longhorn Engineer. Featuring a virtual laser pointer driver using stepper motors, a motion sensor, EEProm – a custom program for logging and storing movements – and an opto switch to sense the home position of the laser, Ben creates a cat exerciser that repeats motion patterns multiple times, enabling cats to exercise throughout the day.

“While this episode is very entertaining to watch, it also seriously demonstrates the importance of electronics in just about every aspect of our daily lives,” said Kevin Yapp, chief marketing officer, Premier Farnell. “We’re proud that our element14 community helps to support electronics innovation by providing engineers and enthusiasts with a unique venue for collaboration, research and inspiration.”

Show fans are invited to join the element14 community to send Ben a challenge for a future build, engage with community members, and enter for a chance to win Ben’s custom cat exerciser build. Also, in the spirit of celebrating technology innovators, fans can share their thoughts on who the pioneers of tomorrow will be at Select suggestions will be featured on the community, and each contributor will have a chance to win an XL_Star development board made exclusively by element14 and Freescale.

Editor’s Note:

The image and video are available for download at:[...]

Photo Caption: Modding guru Ben Heck helps furry feline friends get in gear with an automated cat exercise build in element14’s “The Ben Heck Show”

About “The Ben Heck Show”

“The Ben Heck Show” is a bi-weekly online television series aired in English that’s dedicated to the science and art of system and hardware modding with a global audience of design engineers, students and electronic enthusiasts. Now in its second year, the show has already attracted more than 3 million views. Sponsored exclusively by element14, each episode spotlights Ben’s mods of popular electronic devices while educating viewers on the underlying technology powering each project.

About element14

element14 is a high-service distributor of technology products and solutions for electronic system design, maintenance and repair. It brings together the latest products, services, and development software, all connected to an innovative online engineering community where purchasers and engineers can access peers and experts, a wide range of independent technical information and helpful tools. When researching a new technology, designing an electronic product, or looking for parts to repair an existing system, they can rely on element14 to find the answers and parts they need to keep projects on the fast track, right from the start.

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