Campers unveil BVR Pet Tech at the new Beaver Design Camp!

The design level of Beaver’s Research and Design center was abuzz with activity on Friday afternoon as the first group of campers in the all-new Design Camp prepared to unveil their final project prototypes!

The challenge for the week: design and build a machine that could help animals!

Design camp counselor Ronan explains: “The project started off very open-ended.  The goal was to create something to help pets in a very broad sense.”  With support and guidance from expert pet consultant, veterinarian Dr. Lori Feldman, both groups decided to focus on eating habits for pets.

Once ideas were in place, campers spent their first day brainstorming and sketching, then the following three days were for prototyping, learning and incorporating technology into their design, and testing before improving the current model.  The build teams collaborated with the camp woodshop to build the frames and incorporated Arduinos to set up the sensors.  Ultimately, kids learned the fundamentals of programming, electronics, and basic mechanics along the way!

“The appeal of this camp is that kids can work all day for an entire week on a single design project, allowing them to really go in depth in terms of physical building, but also consider a number of design iterations.” continues Ronan.  “It is something they really can’t get with a single day session.”


On Friday it was finally time to test their designs!  Joined by Camp Director Nat’s two dogs, Putney and LB, the first group tested their automatic treat feeder, which opened a small door at the bottom of a storage chamber to reveal a single treat – if the dog could trigger the sensor!  It was a success, with all of the treats consumed!  However, the group learned a valuable lesson to take into consideration for future iterations: dogs are slobbery, resulting in a short circuit of the sensor’s electronics!

The second’s group design also delivered treats, but was motion activated so it would only deliver a treat if the dog climbed to the top of the platform.  Both food and exercise were a goal for this group!  However, once the LB realized the treats were at the top of the platform, it was tough to move him along so both pups could have a turn!  A collar based sensor system would be the next iteration for this group so the design could be used by multiple dogs equally!




Videos of Friday’s design presentations can be found on YouTube by heading to these links:

See the full description of the Beaver Design Camp at the Beaver Summer Camp website to learn more about this awesome camp option!