AI Camera Knows Its S**t

[Caleb] shares a problem with most dog owners. Dogs leave their… byproducts…all over your yard. Some people pick it up right away and some just leave it. But what if your dog has run of the yard? How do you know where these piles are hiding? A security camera and AI image detection is the answer, but probably not the way that you think.

You might think as we did that you could train the system to recognize the–um–piles. But instead, [Caleb] elected to have the AI do animal pose estimation to detect the dog’s posture while producing the target. This is probably easier than recognizing a nondescript pile and then it doesn’t matter if it is, say, covered with snow.

The dog’s posture indicates both that the event has occurred and suggests where it happened. A map gets a red circle updated on a web page so you can correctly identify the location of the land mines. We were expecting a robot to pick it up, but maybe that’s a project for later in the year.

Although the system is tuned for Twinkie, it probably would work for many other dogs, although we know of at least one dog who has a signature posture but moves through the whole process, so we bet you’d have to retrain for that behavior.

It seems the system would be worth its weight in gold indoors and connected to your robot vacuum. We’ve actually seen something similar to this before (the video is still there, but the link is dead).

11 thoughts on “AI Camera Knows Its S**t

  1. Tracking the dog was absolutely the best way to do this. Identifying poop in a large yard using a stationary single camera of very limited resolution is going to be an impossible task. Kudos to Caleb for coming to this insightful conclusion! Step two should be making an AR program to lead you to the correct locations.

      1. It would be useful at times, especially when I am taking him for a walk after dark, and he drops a load in a neighbor’s yard.
        But, I doubt it would work with ones that have been sitting for several days in my yard.
        But still, that reason might make selling the idea of buying one, to my wife easier!
        B^)

  2. If you live where its really cold then the poop instantly buries itself in the snow and freezes. It immediately disappears, out of sight, out of mind and odor-free until Spring. That’s why having a tracker is useful; the alternative is a rather ugly cleanup situation come April/May.

  3. Although I have never had responsibility for walking a dog, I take it that the human DOES have some influence over where the dog does its business. If so, then the follow-on deterrent might operate on the human instead of the dog. After detecting the characteristic dog squat, there should follow a characteristic human squat to pick up the mess. If both dog and human walk away without the human squat, it’s time for a beeping-flashing lights-your antisocial negligence has been recorded-public shaming to occur.

    1. Yes, I do have some influence on the dog’s behavior when we are out for a walk.
      And I clean up after him, but as I commented above, the task is an order of magnitude harder on a yard with fallen leaves.

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