Point Out Pup’s Packages With This Poop-Shooting Laser

When you’re lucky enough to have a dog in your life, you tend to overlook some of the more one-sided aspects of the relationship. While you are severely restrained with regard to where you eliminate your waste, your furry friend is free to roam the yard and dispense his or her nuggets pretty much at will, and fully expect you to follow along on cleanup duty. See what we did there?

And so dog people sometimes rebel at this lopsided power structure, by leaving the cleanup till later — often much, much later, when locating the offending piles can be a bit difficult. So naturally, we now have this poop-shooting laser turret to helpfully guide you through your backyard cleanup sessions. It comes to us from [Caleb Olson], who leveraged his recent poop-posture monitor as the source of data for where exactly in the yard each deposit is located. To point them out, he attached a laser pointer to a cheap robot arm, and used OpenCV to help line up the bright green spot on each poop.

But wait, there’s more. [Caleb]’s code also optimizes his poop patrol route, minimizing the amount of pesky walking he has to do to visit each pile. And, the same pose estimation algorithm that watches the adorable [Twinkie] make her deposits keeps track of which ones [Caleb] stoops by, removing each from the worklist in turn. So now instead of having a dog control his life, he’s got a dog and a computer running the show. Perfect.

We joke, because poop, but really, this is a pretty neat exercise in machine learning. It does seem like the robot arm was bit overkill, though — we’d have thought a simple two-servo turret would have been pretty easy to whip up.

18 thoughts on “Point Out Pup’s Packages With This Poop-Shooting Laser

      1. What about comuting distance of human to nearest poop spot.
        Use phone app to indicate how close human is getting to ‘poop’. aka poop version of metal detector. Perhaps send a “about to step on poop” audio alarm if foot gets to close to the poop?

  1. Next up, a modified robot lawnmower that can do the scooping.
    I seem to recall a university making something like that to gather slugs and use them to sustain itself electrically. [ MIT perhaps, it was a while back. ] I wonder if excrement can preform the same function.
    On a slight side note, I’m glad he wasn’t able to get through the video with a straight face.

  2. I agree on the robot arm being overkill. Impulse bought the arm without fully exploring options. Although less practical, it’s pretty funny seeing the robot arm move around with a laser strapped to it.

    Looking back now, servo turret, as you author suggests, would have alleviated some pain. I ended up having to move batteries out of the laser pointer and running alligator clip/wires to the laser diode. Moved the batteries (due to weight) to the base of the bot, off the arm. Anyways, was a fun project.

    1. Thanks for sharing. It’s a really good project. I’m thinking about getting a dog now that I finally have a yard. Poop was always something holding me back a little. I grew up on a farm, and you didn’t usually run into poop. It just disappeared into the vastness of open space. Now if I build a similar device, I can rest easy knowing where all the poops are. Great job.

    1. In this case, think modding https://www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/kids-pets/a31289426/robot-picks-up-dog-poop/ to to follow the laser to the various pickup spots & automatically depositing the results in diy in-ground dog poop septic system ( https://www.thewildest.com/dog-lifestyle/build-your-own-pet-waste-digester ) might be better than a human traversing the rainbow for the gold spots. Complete automated system migh perhaps include RFID detection for auto-septic door open/close & auto sanitizing the robot post-septic deposit.
      ?? in-ground heater for colder areas to keep those septic microbs happy ??

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.