For those of you who need to remotely control how much food is available to your pets - or perhaps remotely control a candy dispenser for humans, this project will be of interest. Created by Instructables team member Amanda Ghassaei, it's quite easy to replicate and can be applied to other devices. By breaking open the control panel for a typical cat feeder, Amanda has added some circuitry to control the buttons on the feeder that are pressed to dispense food. Note that this could be simplified with optocouplers... nevertheless, an Ethernet-enabled Arduino monitors a twitter feed and once the magic words are received, it tells the feed to dispense and then waits four hours to avoid over-feeding.
Even if you're not wanting to control a pet feeder - the same method can be used to control an Arduino board remotely via twitter, so there's something in it for all of us. For more information head over to Amanda's page. And we're on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.
Need an Ethernet-enabled Arduino board? Forget the rest - and get the outstanding Freetronics EtherTen. Apart from being fully Arduino Uno-compatible, it has onboard Ethernet, microSD socket, full USB interface (so you don't need a costly FTDI cable just to upload a sketch!) and supports optional Power-over-Ethernet: