Hoani Bryson faced a relatable pet owner’s challenge: keeping his cats entertained without being available 24/7 for playtime. So, he came up with a clever solution called LazerPaw, providing his feline friends with an autonomous and safe way to chase lasers.
To make it work, LazerPaw utilizes some cool tech tricks. It includes an infrared camera, ensuring that it can operate in the dark. The camera and a Raspberry Pi are mounted on a pan/tilt module, controlled by servos, and cleverly attached to the ceiling using smartphone clamps. This setup ensures that when the cats are chasing the laser, they’re looking away from the laser source for safety. And, to add a bit of tech-savvy charm, Hoani threw in NeoPixels, controlled by an Arduino-based controller.
LazerPaw’s software processes a webcam stream, making it more cat-friendly. It scales down the video feed for smoother performance and applies a filter to detect black pixels, assuming they’re cats. When it spots a cat, it moves the camera away from it, keeping the game exciting by preventing them from catching the laser too quickly. Plus, the processed images are sent to an interactive website for remote playtime. And just in case you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, there’s a good old physical start button for convenience. So, you can keep your kitties entertained even when you’re not around to play with them. If you’re looking to make life with our feline companions a bit easier then make sure to check this project as well: Litter Box Sensor Lets You Know Exactly What the Cat’s Been Up To (Knowing when your cat uses the litterbox is probably useful for something).