Robotic Laser Keeps Cat Entertained While You Hack

Cat laser on a pan-tilt robot

Whether it’s our own cat or a neighbor’s, many of us have experienced the friendly feline keeping us company while we work, often contributing on the keyboard, sticking its head where our hands are for a closer look, or sitting on needed parts. So how to keep the crafty kitty busy elsewhere? This roboticized laser on a pan-tilt mechanism from the [ team] should do the trick.

The laser is a 650 nm laser diode mounted on a 3D printed pan-tilt system which they found on Thingiverse and modified for attaching the diode’s housing. It’s all pretty lightweight so two 9G Micro Servos do the grunt work just fine. The brain is an Arduino UNO running an open-source VarSpeedServo library for smooth movements. Also included are an HC-05 Bluetooth receiver and an Android app for controlling the laser from your phone. Set it to Autoplay or take a break and use the buttons to direct the laser yourself. See the video below for build instructions and of course their cat, [Pepper], looking like a Flamenco dancer chasing the light.

Think your cat might get bored chasing a light around by itself? Mount the laser on a mobile robot with added IR proximity sensor which can roll around and play with the cat.

14 thoughts on “Robotic Laser Keeps Cat Entertained While You Hack

  1. Has Never has taken long for cats around here to figure out they can’t catch the light from a laser pointer, tire of trying to do so, and move on their old self-entertainment tricks. Only take a few ricochets off a wall for the smart cats to get the hint to stay back. Here humans train the cats, not the cat, the humans.

    1. I’m not sure that’s so much the issue as the supposed psychological harm from these things. There’s supposedly a negative psychological affect from never actually being able to catch the laser,

      1. That’s very true. Letting the cat play with the laser dot is fine but one should always cuddle and give some treats to the cat afterwards, otherwise it can suffer from frustration. Adding a treat dispenser that activates after the laser goes off could be a nice upgrade.

  2. can someone post where they (or this person) got the laser diode from and what it is? It wasn’t on the original youtube page.. Everything else I have in my parts box (well, wall..).

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