LAS VEGAS — Is your cat or dog too fat because he eats all the food out of your other cat's bowl? Volta's Mookkie smart pet bowl uses a camera and artificial intelligence to determine which of your furry friends is approaching, and opens up for only the approved critter.
A pet owner takes a few photos of the face of whichever cat should use the bowl, and then uploads them to Mookkie's app. After that, the bowl will slide open its clear plastic lid only if its camera recognizes the cat. If the bowl's camera sees an unidentified cat or dog — or a toddler who thinks cat food might be a fun treat — it will keep the lid closed.
At CES, the company demonstrated how the Mookkie pet bowl worked by holding up various photos of cat faces in front of the bowl's camera. Unfortunately, there were no real cats on hand, but getting those to do anything on command is a pretty tall task.
A company representative said that you can program the bowl to recognize the faces of more than one cat. However, the small size of the bowl lends itself to probably two cats, at most. And even then, you'll have to refill it every day.
Because it's linked to an app, pet owners will also get data about how often their cat (or cats) are eating, which can be helpful to see if your pet isn't feeling well and eating less.
The Mookkie should be available around September for an estimated price of $189. It's an expensive food bowl — we would have liked to see one that has a greater storage capacity — but it's a neat idea for those who have multiple pets and want to make sure none of them is eating too much.