Amazon engineer’s cat kept bringing home dead animals so he built an AI-powered cat flap
If you have a cat, you know that you can’t stop your cat from doing anything. Cat’s the master, you’re the slave. But what if your cat is a murderer and it brings all the kills home? Does that make you a participant in the crime too? How do you stop your cat from getting away with murder? An Amazon engineer seems to have found the answer.
Ben Hamm, who is a senior product manager in the Technical division of Amazon found that his “sweet, murderous cat” Metric, was bringing home dead and half-dead prey in the middle of the night. And he had to put an end to it. So Hamm turned to machine learning and created an AI-powered catflap.
For those unfamiliar, a cat flap is a small flap cut out in your door which lets your cat in and out of your house, without you needing to open the door for them every time.
He hooked up this cat flap on his door, connected an AI-enabled camera (Amazon’s own DeepLens) to it and an Arduino-powered locking system.
Hamm reveals in a (very entertaining) video that he trained the AI-camera to identify whether Metric was coming or going and whether he had prey in his mouth or not. If the camera detected Metric with something in its jaws, the cat flap would lock for 15 minutes and Hamm would get a text. According to Hamm’s study, the cat flap works three out of five times and hopes the cat flap’s detection will improve over time as it is just using his cat as the training model.
Listen to Hamm talk about how his cat, Metric, is the one who got him to make this innovative cat flap.