Neural Network Knows When Cat Wants To Go Outside

Neural networks are computer systems that are vaguely inspired by the construction of animal brains, and much like human brains, can be trained to obey the whims of the almighty domestic cat. [EdjeElectronics] has built just such a system, and his cat is better off for it.

The build uses a Raspberry Pi, fitted with the Pi Camera board, to image the area around the back door of the house. A Python script regularly captures images and passes them to a TensorFlow neural network for object recognition. The TensorFlow network returns object type and positions to the Python script. This information can be used to determine if there is a cat in the frame, and if it is inside or outside. If the cat remains in position for ten consecutive frames, a text message is sent via Twilio, indicating to the owner to let the cat in or out, as the case may be.

Thirty years ago, object classification was a pie-in-the-sky technology, but now you can run it on a $30 computer to figure out where your pets are. What a time we live in! A similar solution to this problem may be a cat door that unlocks via facial recognition. Video after the break.

[Thanks to Baldpower for the tip!]

38 thoughts on “Neural Network Knows When Cat Wants To Go Outside

  1. If I would let our cat out/in every time it “wants” to, I’d be opening the door 50 times a day. Minimum.
    To make things worse it has it’s own neuronal net trained on being really annoying when it wants out.
    Trick is to not let it in for half a day then itś so exhausted from screaming and scratching on the door, that it just comes in to take a nap.

  2. Obviously written by somebody who doesn’t own a lap fungus :) Pro tip: when you open the door to let a cat in or out, a subroutine immediately executes in the cat to set a boolean tag “change mind” to a random value. I came to this post hoping that some wizard had trained a neural net to predict the outcome…

  3. Does anyone know of additional functions to reliably distinguish two differently colored/patterned cats once the basic code has correctly detected a cat? I’ve tried some python/OpenCV color blob detection but have a hard time getting it reliable when lighting conditions change throughout the day.

        1. i dont think you understand the situation. you do not simply have a cat, cats simply have staff. think about it, they have turned the dominant species on the planet into their slaves. who really runs things?

      1. until your cat doesn’t come back one day*.

        *Where i live, there are no outdoor cats due to coyotes in the area. There are regularly kids looking for missing cats and no one has the heart to tell them what actually happened. Several older people have lost their small dogs as well when walking them at dusk. A few things to keep in mind when letting your cat out for extended periods of time.

        1. For small dogs, someone sells a coyote-proof-ish vest to give an owner a few seconds to recover their composure and run Wiley E. off. On the outskirts of (pick your southwestern city), the buggers take a lot of weight off the shoulders of the RSPCA… oops, Humane Society, and having a cat outdoors just isn’t on.

    1. THIS! +1. Outside cats also needlessly kill migrating birds (including at-risk and threatened ones).
      Housecats belong in the house. Feral / outdoor cats are a misnomer, keep them inside or get them over to someone who can.

      1. Geniuses in my city decided they didn’t want cats roaming the city, and rounded them all up. Guess what we have a problem with now? Turns out feral and outdoor cats are the only thing that keeps rodents under control in (sub)urban areas.

        Given a choice between a few less birds and rats, I’ll happily miss a few birds. It’s part of nature.

        So now we nourish our rats with poison bait that no longer hurts them, and poisons the dogs and few cats that do try to take out a rat.

        I’m a cat lover, and I’d much rather my cat be an indoor cat, but some rescues are just too much in love with the outdoors to make the conversion to indoor cat.

      2. Those species of birds that are at risk or threatened are so because of human interference. It’s human activity that reshapes ecosystems and displaces species. The answer is to stop having humans, not to stop having cats.

  4. At one point I owned 3 cats [or did they own me?] – with increased numbers the efficiency went up – each time I opened a door for a cat that wanted out, one or more would then come in. I was also somewhat notorious – we had for a short time a dog, and I had built a doghouse for it, which when the dog left became a cathouse…..

  5. The woke mind is a never ending source of amazement. So many people butt-hurt because cats kill stuff. I’m proud of my little murder machine. She took out scores of rats when we lived in town and now that we’re just outside town she’s put a dent in the rabbit and squirrel populations (both of which were running rampant). Honestly, she brings home more bats than birds. Never figured out how she gets those…

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