Ring In The New Year With This Cute Cat Doorbell

What better way to ring in the new year than with [iSax Laboratories]’ charming little project that replaces a doorbell with a Maneki-Neko cat figurine to ring a physical bell?

A golden maneki-neko cat arm mechanism attached to a servo on a workbench with a hand controlling a servo motor tester that's plugged into the servo attached to the arm.

Details are unfortunately a bit light, but it looks like the Maneki-Neko cat was disassembled to allow for a small SG92R servo motor to attach to the arm pendulum mechanism. [iSax Laboratories] added wooden platform where the Maneki-Neko cat figurine is mounted along with some indicator lights, switches and the physical bell, with a cavity routed out in the base to allow for the Arduino Nano microcontroller.

[iSax Laboratories] has what looks to be an Assa Abloy Svara 23 wired answering machine, which has one of its output lines connected to the Nano to sense when a doorbell signal has come in.

The Maneki-Neko cats are cute, easily hackable figurines and we’ve featured them in the past, using them as everything from hit counters to POV displays.

Be sure to check out the demo video after the break!

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Lucky Cat POV Display Ditches The Waving And Windmills Out Of Control

If you’ve been in a Japanese restaurant, you’ve probably seen a¬†maneki-neko, the lucky cat charm, where a cat welcomes you with a beckoning arm. It’s considered to bring good luck, but we’re not sure if [Martin Fitzpatrick] is pushing his luck with this Lucky Cat POV display. He hacked one of the figurines so the arm forms a persistence¬†of vision (POV) display, where blinking LEDs on the paw create a dot-matrix style display.

Inside the hapless neko is a Wemos D1, motor driver, and a few other components that turn the cat into a working display. The five LEDs he attached to the paw are wide enough to display 5×7 characters. The tricky part in the mechanical design is getting signals from a stationary base to a spinning arm(ature). In this case it was easily solved with a 6-wire slip ring from Adafruit. [Martin] revs the lucky cat up using a brushed DC motor and a couple of gears.

The ESP8266 is running MicroPython — the combination should make this a snap to hook into any web service API you want to display your own messages. Right now the arm doesn’t have positional awareness so the message isn’t locked in a single position like it would be if a hall effect sensor was used. But [Martin] says there’s plenty of room left inside the cat and a future upgrade could include stashing the batteries inside for a cordless, all-in-one build. If he takes that on it’s a perfect time to add some type of shaft encoding as well.

Check the Lucky Cat showing off in the clip after the break.

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