Cat Flap AI

Amazon engineer prevents cat’s blood offerings using machine learning and an electronic cat flap

Cats are lovely things with myriad personalities, but, if you happen to be the feeder of one that leans more towards adorable death machine than lazy chonkster, you may understand what it’s like to wake up to severed mouse heads under foot (true story) or a new bird viscera design motif in the bathroom. Well, one Amazon engineer has used AI to put an end to the nightly blood offerings.

Ben Hamm, engineer at Amazon, found a way to prevent Metric, his floofsome murder beast, from entering the house with partially dead “gifts” by teaching an AI-enabled camera (Amazon’s DeepLens) to detect when he had prey in his mouth. The camera was linked to an electronic cat flap and locking system.

Hamm trained the machine vision algorithms himself, teaching the AI what it looked like when Metric was approaching with prey in his mouth. When prey is detected, the cat flap locks for 15 minutes and Hamm receives photo evidence on his phone. The system also automatically sends a donation to a local bird protection society, as an apology, which is a nice touch as cats are largely responsible for a global decline in certain species, especially birds.

It probably won’t stop your cat from killing things, but at least those things won’t end up on your pillow.

Check out Hamm’s Ignite Seattle presentation on the subject, below:

Via The Verge.

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