CheetahBeam: More Proof That Cats Are Your Overlord

We don’t know what cats see when they see a red laser beam, but we know it isn’t what we see. The reaction, at least for many cats — is instant and extreme. Of course, your cat expects you to quit your job and play with it on demand. While [fluxaxiom] wanted to comply, he also knew that no job would lead to no cat food. To resolve the dilemma, he built an automated cat laser. In addition to the laser module, the device uses a few servos and a microcontroller in a 3D printed case. You can see a video, below. Dogs apparently like it too, but of course they aren’t the reason it was built.

If you don’t have a 3D printer, you can still cobble something together. The microcontroller is an Adafruit Pro Trinket, which is essentially an Arduino Pro Mini with some extra pins and a USB port.

There are twelve different patterns the device cycles through at random to attempt to confuse your cat. We couldn’t help but wonder if this ought to be on the Internet so you could take control and manually play with your cat. Sounds like a job for Blynk. The last time we saw a cat laser, it was a little more mobile.


27 thoughts on “CheetahBeam: More Proof That Cats Are Your Overlord

  1. While it does look funny, pointing laser light at cats without someone CAREFULLY CHECKING that the beam does not hit the cats’ eyes is, in MY EYES, a sauerei. Read: Only do it if you don’t care about hurting your cat.

    1. You do not need a burning laser for this. Use a small <1mW red one.
      My cats chase anyway after any moving light. Be it the reflexion of the sun on the watch glass or any tiny spot of light from a lamp reflecting in the watch glass or being it the image of the mouse pointer on the projection screen.

    2. +1
      Even if the laser is weak enough to be harmless for humans, are you sure it’s the same thing for cat eyes? And i would really not trust any power indication on chinese shop websites. It’s probable that they exaggerate the output power but you don’t know how much they exaggerate. The only sure way would be to actually measure the output power, but who has the right equipment for doing such things? And as i said, the reglementations are for humans, not for cats.

      1. I don’t trust the power rating, but it is easy to get an upper bound on the emit power.

        Figure low end devices <50% (more likely <30%) conversion efficiency. Applied power can be controlled, and simple filtering can be used to keep emit power well below 1mW.

      2. Green lasers in particular are hazardous. They are actually an IR laser with a frequency-doubler, followed (ideally) by an IR-cut filter.

        The cheap ones don’t have the IR filter. So while it might be a “5mW green laser”, there’s quite likely 50-100mW of IR coming out the end.

  2. a long time ago a friend an I used a couple of servos + RC receiver & remote to make a manual version of this. Few minutes in the cat realized the connection and stated attacking the device instead of being interested in the laser. Guess the servo noise was to blame?

  3. cats are gods, serve them well and you will get a good position in cat haven (good position to continue to serve them :) in egypt if someone caused a little bit of harm to them, then that person was killed immediately :)

  4. I’ve made a couple of flavors of something really similar. The first one was hung from the ceiling and had a PIC monitoring the output of a PIR sensor. If it sensed motion and at least 10 minutes had passed since the previous light show, it would turn on the laser and run the servo…

    The last version had an IR remote and the ability to control it manually via IR or have it monitor the PIR and go through a pre-set routine when triggered. I think it was taken down when painting the walls and never made it back up.

    1. Little late on the patent game: there are several commercial versions of this already on the market, and they use fancy lo-profile optics instead of noisy servos. This is still a great/fun project but the patent ship has sailed off to whatever wasteland those ships sail to.

  5. Is it a good idea to mix a ceiling fan, a red laser, some extra batteries, a remote receiver, perhaps a servo and some command unit (arduino, pi, whatever)?
    By the way, never use the laser on a wall on which a cat can go up. And hit an porcelain plate hanged right there.
    In my defense it was at the end of a long dark hall and i didn’t noticed the hanged plates until the missile cat shut it down.
    Of course i was in a visit.

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