AI Cat Flap

AI Cat Flap

Walter (shown here is daytime sleepy mode) is a wonderful cat with personality to spare- he is the undisputed king of the house and has no problem putting the dogs in their place. But he is a menace at night: he likes to hunt and bring in prey alive, which he then releases for the dogs to chase, and sometimes he does this 2 or 3 times a night! When he comes in he like to announce his presence with a yowling meow which wakes us up, and we have various nets and other trapping paraphernalia around and can often catch the mouse, mole, chipmunk and/or rabbit he brings and release it, but sometime we have to rely on traps to catch them later if they get under the fridge or the dishwasher or something.

Today, while walking the dogs, I was chatting with June and was saying that there must be a way, using a camera and AI, to make a flap that could sense if he has prey in his mouth and lock him out if he does- with a camera under the flap looking up it should be fairly easy to detect dark colored prey against his white chin. I posited that while I don’t posses the coding skill to create something like this I was sure that there must be a “coders for hire” sub-reddit where I could perhaps find someone who does.

So when I got home I started doing a little research, and found that someone has beaten me to the idea with exactly the design and features I had been thinking of! It is an AI powered cat flap called the OnlyCat, and is currently being offered on the crowd-funding site IndieGoGo where it is apparently at the prototype stage but is due to ship in August. These things sometimes don’t actually end up getting into production, and are almost always late, but far from being pissed-off that someone has had the idea before me I am thrilled that this looks like being so close to being a real thing! So I have pre-ordered one and can’t wait to see if it works as well as advertised and will let us have a good night’s sleep 🙂

Watch this space and I will update if and when it arrives …

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