New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

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New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby cat-agorical » Fri May 21, 2010 1:50 pm

Here's a new automated litter box: http://www.litterloo.com
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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby JENN » Thu May 27, 2010 8:25 pm

This look very interesting! :)

It uses crystals? When and where will this be available to try?
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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby ALittleEasy » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:26 am

As I read it, nothing really new here that hasn't been done one way or another.
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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby FurryOne » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:49 am

ALittleEasy wrote:As I read it, nothing really new here that hasn't been done one way or another.


Maybe a reading comprehension course might help? :?

This design looks like it addresses most problems, but I do see one area of weakness... where pee clumps stick to the bottom. Of course, a good coating of "Stink Free" might do the trick there. :lol: I'd like to see this unit in it's finished form, and a price. They show demos using both clay and crystals, which should please most people (& cats).
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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby tmn » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:51 pm

Wow, that actually looks really great! It doesn't look very big though I wish it was a larger box area. But it is exactly what I've been wishing for - effectiveness of Litter Robot without the small enclosure. It even looks cool!

I just watched the video - my one concern is the potential for injury if a curious cat gets into or gets a leg into the undercarriage/waste area while it is moving. I am not sure if I would trust sensors like IR to stop and avoid injuring a cat, they could get dusty and stop working. It would have to have sensitive touch sensors for safety.

Using a permanent non-stick coating is something I have always wanted in a litter box, a lining of silicone would be ideal since it could be made white or light colored, but teflon would be OK too (the dark color would be less ideal - hard to see if its clean).

I use a manual box now, and I'll share a tip that would work for auto boxes too - after the box is cleaned, take a block of paraffin wax (sold in grocery stores for canning) and wax the box, much like you are waxing skiis. You can get a good layer on there and it lasts a lot longer than Stink Free, doesn't stink (I hate the smell of Stink Free) and it is really cheap - I have had the same $2 block of wax for 3 years now.
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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby spaceshare » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:35 pm

It would be interesting to see more about this litter box but I wonder if we will (hope I'm wrong on this point). The patent date was January of 2010 -- Now a year later and no box. Hmmm ...
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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby tmn » Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:20 pm

spaceshare wrote:It would be interesting to see more about this litter box but I wonder if we will (hope I'm wrong on this point). The patent date was January of 2010 -- Now a year later and no box. Hmmm ...


Oh I think it would take a long time from patent to market for any product. For example a new vacuum robot called the Neato XV-11 was announced at an Expo last January and was not available until Sept 2010, and was in short supply until now. And who knows when the patent for that was issued.
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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby abbeytoo » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:08 pm

I asked on the website about the availability of this box. Here is the reply I received:

Hi Ruetta,

Yes, I am still working on bringing this to market. Bringing a product to market will take many months and potentially a few years. I just received the patent last year (2010), so it's still pretty early in the process. Would you like me to put your name on the list should the product become available?

Thanks,

Jerry

> Ruetta Wrote:
> Is this available, in production, or no longer feasable?


I invited him to come to the Litterbox.
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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby LitterLoo » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:43 pm

Hi everyone, and thanks for the invite!

Let me try and answer everyone's questions with this post.

@ JENN:

The litter box works best with clumping clay litter, but crystals work fine too. Naturally, the problem with crystals is the "saturation problem" requiring that you dump the whole box and rinse/wipe out the inside (which is not pleasant). What's good about clumping clay litter is that you just empty the waste receptacle when it's full, and occasionally add more litter. It's also a lot less expensive, and ultimately more convenient. If you're a fan of crystal litter, what I can say is that the tumbling action of a sifting litter box will certainly extend the life of the crystals over a raking litter box.

@ FurryOne:

The web site (http://www.litterloo.com) currently is showing (as of 1/11/11) a semi-recent prototype. I've almost completed a more-recent set of enhancements that will be shown within the next few weeks, but what you see up there today is pretty close to what I expect will be my final prototype.

There are two features that prevent clumps from sticking to the litter box:

  • The "drip cap", which you see in the picture on the main page, is attached along the three exposed sides around the inside, and directs urine about one inch from the edge of the litter. Instead of the cat being able to pee on the side (which cats often do), the sides are hidden by the drip cap, and the drip cap forces the urine away from the side preventing it from sticking to it. One might contend that this reduces the size of the litter area, but if you think about it the cat can still urinate within the same space as when the drip cap (which is removable) is not present.
  • In this design, the depth of litter is key in preventing clumps from touching the bottom. If the clump can't touch the bottom, then it can't stick to the bottom. This litter box holds more litter than you might think. I'm still experimenting with the depth required, but I have zero sticking problems with the unit I'm using here at home. All I do is occasionally add litter and replace the waste bag once every two weeks (that's with one cat). It's really nice.

As for price, my current pricing models suggest a retails price of about $250, but this is exremely preliminary.

@ tmn:

The litter area is (I think) fairly large. The dimensions are 17.5" x 14". That should handle pretty large cats (and my cat certainly falls into that category). I made a conscious effort to make the litter area larger than all the competition (LitterMaid: 14.25" x 13.5", ScoopFree: 14" x 14", Simply Clean: 8" x 17" half-circle, CatGenie: 15" circle, Litter-Robot: 14" round at full capacity). It's hard to tell from a picture, but it seems pretty large in person.

Thanks for pointing out safety, as I've gone to great lengths to make this as safe as possible. This prototype actually uses a sensor in the base to detect the presence of a cat. It does not use beam-breaking technology like a LitterMaid, or weight-triggering switches. Unfortunately, I can't yet disclose how it works as it's kind of a trade secret at this point, but what I can say is that there are multiple safe-guards to prevent injury:

  • The only place a cat could possibly get caught within the unit is when the waste receptacle is exposed. After the cleaning cycle has finished, the unit returns back to level the litter. There is a mechanical safeguard in that the rear panel snaps in and out of place. Should something provide even the slightest resistance to that panel, it will snap out preventing any kind of pinching. That panel is present primarly for the purpose of sealing in odor, so it's a fairly light piece of plastic that doesn't provide significant structural function.
  • Obviously, if the litter box detects the presence of a cat while it is running, it will stop. The timer will be reset and it will attempt to resume cycling minutes later.
  • There is an additional safeguard that detects interference with other objects. For example, placing the litter box in a corner is fine, but if you place it too close to a wall it can hit the wall. There's another sensor built into the base that detects this condition. If it detects even the slightest amount of force in a lateral direction, it will reverse the litter box for a few seconds and stop. It will also flash a code (which you can look up) to tell you what you need to do (e.g. move it away from the wall).
As for the sensors getting dirty and stop working, they are sealed (although not hermetically), so that should not happen; however, as a secondary safeguard, the microcontroller tests the sensors to make sure they are working before it will start a cycle.

@ all:

Although I have significant interest from (I'm intentionally being vague here) one or more parties in bringing this to market, it is still very early. It will take quite a bit of time before you will be able to purchase one of these, but I'd be more than happy to answer any further questions. You can also leave suggestions or other feedback at http://www.litterloo.com.

Thanks,

Jerry
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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby abbeytoo » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:48 pm

Hi Jerry and welcome to the Litterbox! And thanks for the information. Keep us updated, please. I'm sure there are folks here ready to pounce on the box once its available.

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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby Scott Larson » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:40 pm

LitterLoo wrote:In this design, the depth of litter is key in preventing clumps from touching the bottom. If the clump can't touch the bottom, then it can't stick to the bottom. This litter box holds more litter than you might think. I'm still experimenting with the depth required, but I have zero sticking problems with the unit I'm using here at home.

One potential problem is that some cats are crazy diggers and will tunnel their way to China through any depth of litter. The flexible weighted liner of the Litter Robot is the only half-decent solution I've seen for this and even it gets covered in litter clumps it can't knock off eventually.

I think this problem was the killer for the "Litter Revolution" litter box that never made it to the market. It had a simple scooping system but it completely ignored the problem of litter sticking to surfaces.
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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby LitterLoo » Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:54 pm

Hi Scott,

I should say that there's nothing preventing the use of a flexible weighted liner with this device should that be necessary, but I'm hopeful that the solution I'm currently pursuing will provide for a cleaner litter box. So far, the high depth of litter seems to make it very difficult for the cat to reach the bottom of the litter pan without having the litter immediately roll back down to fill the hole. That would not be true without a sufficient depth of litter. However, once we are able to build beta units and test the effectiveness of the litter box with a wide variety of felines, if necessary we'll adjust accordingly and go from there. I'll reiterate that this is still very early in the process.

I'm really trying to accomplish three things here. Create a device that:

  • Works 100% of the time
  • Is as affordable as possible
  • The largest population of cats will use
I'm sure most people here are aware of the advantages of a sifting litter box. To this date, a sifting litter box is really the only practical design that can use inexpensive clumping clay litter and that simply will not clog. The problem I experienced with one of my cats is that she had no problem using an unenclosed raking litter box, but would in no way entertain using an enclosed sifting litter box. Unfortunately, the cat's acceptance of the device is arguably more important that how effective the device is at filtering litter. Even an inferior design that is marginally better than manually scooping will provide more value than a superior device that goes unused. This (for me) was a tragedy, and although I've solved this problem for me, I sincerely hope my solution can help others too.
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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby abbeytoo » Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:45 pm

Jerry,

As one who has purchased all of the automatic litterboxes on the market, and had varying degrees of success and failure with each of them, I'd like to volunteer to be a beta tester when you get ready to go with your model. I'm currently living with 2 10 year old cats, 2 5 year old cats, 1 one and a half year old and a 8 week old baby that can't walk. Quite a variety of ages and personalities!

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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby tmn » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:08 pm

Thanks for answering our questions, this box sounds like the best I have ever heard of. I had not noticed the lip design when I first looked at it but it is genius - I have 2 side-peers and clumps are constantly sticking to the sides.

For those of you with problems with diggers/sticking I have found a solution that will work with any box - When you have cleaned out the box, take a block of paraffin wax (sold at grocery stores for canning) and wax the interior of the box by rubbing the block all over just like waxing skiis. You can build up a thick enough layer of wax that it lasts a couple of weeks as a durable non-stick surface. Urine beads up and rolls off, and no clumps will stick. It's also non toxic, which is very important of course.

I would not want any kind of flexible liner, it can get punctured or damaged by claws and then you'd have a real mess when urine soaks through the punctures.
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Re: New automatic litter box: LitterLoo

Postby emosleeper » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:04 pm

one word: dust.
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