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Brad made a home-made automated cat toy…

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. volkemon says:

    As a cat fan, many an hour has been spent ‘trolling for kitty’ with a string toy.

    The motion of the toy appears to be quasi-random, with the toy flailing about. ( That bell slamming into things was REALLY irratating…moreso to the cat’s ears I bet!) Is the controller sensing any feedback from the cats action, or lack of? Indeed, if you keep beating a cat lightly with a toy, the cat will eventually respond. But if the controller is trying to emulate human interface with the cat, I’m not seeing it. This appears to be a step up from the toy on a springy wire. Well, maybe a lateral move.

    NOT like I have something better, but it seems a lot of complicated circutry to fling a cat toy about…..Hope I’m missing something here.

  2. samurai1200 says:

    as far as i can see, you didnt miss anything volkemon. i really hope that big thing at the bottom is just the programmer for the AVR.

  3. tofarley says:

    The beauty of Make: is that people create interesting new things and share them with one another. This gentleman decided to create a new kind of cat toy (and learn about microcontroller programming and PWM servo control along the way). Now the idea is in the community for others to improve upon.

    These are my favorite types of projects. They’re simple, effective, and they get me thinking.

    This is Make: at it’s finest, IMHO.
    Thanks,
    Tim
    imagitronics.org

  4. volkemon says:

    @ tofarly
    Hey, I’m a MAKE fan too…

    But this is MAKE at it’s finest?!?

    Simple (?), effective project?

    Ummmmmm……OK!

  5. bradcb says:

    Hi.. I’m Brad..I made this video

    I wouldn’t exactly call this make at its finest, but I feel honored that somebody felt it cool enough to post here, and I enjoy that others are viewing it…

    The green board IS just a programmer, in this video the only circuitry is an MCU, a few caps and a servo..

    I agree to the above comment, it doesn’t come close to emulating a person’s movements…

    It is indeed quasi-random, but is also indeed my first test of the idea…

    Right now I’m using the MCU’s (microcontroller) on-board analog comparator and a 1/2 Ohm resistance in series with the servo to detect when the motor is on. This is useful because you can tell a servo to move to a programmed position and hold… When it’s holding position (and there’s no load), the motor isn’t actually on, but as soon as an external force tries to rotate the servo, it will turn on and fight this force.

    This way, the toy can become truly automatic, turning itself on when the cat decides to pounce on its motionless body.

    I posted this odd, dully narrated video on youtube like a week ago (my first post on youtube) and it’s gotten over 3000 views, a reward in itself…

    Thanks for your comments.
    -Brad

  6. volkemon says:

    @ Brad-

    Congrats on 3k views! one of them was mine.

    I was unclear as to the actual circutry used. It did look to the layman as if you had mission control setup for this operation !

    The future plans for ‘cat feedback’ is a good idea. The force detection/reaction via the servo is a REALLY a clever idea. I can see force application curves to emulate the ‘prey relaxes before the final escape attempt’ that drives kitty to a full blown bite and rabbit-kickin’ frenzy.

    Congrats again. I dont mean to belittle your efforts AT ALL in my previous posts. Just questions, and look….Answers!
    ( I did hope I was missing something. As usual, I was!)

  7. volkemon says:

    Quadruple post- Bwahahahahaha

    @ tofarley
    “The beauty of Make: is that people create interesting new things and share them with one another.”

    Yes indeed.

    And so I FINALLY paid for a year subscription to print and digital MAKE magazine. ( Print so I have something besides Hot VW’s to read after the end of the world…)

    I no longer have the guilty feeling of freeloading on such a GREAT blog.

    ( Good job MAKE crew!)