Instructables

How can I sense the movement of my two cats throughout my house, easily and cheaply?

I want to be able to detect where my two cats are within my house using an Arduino and some sensors. Accuracy doesn't need to be 100%, as long as I know which room they are in or which side of a room, that will do. I thought of using RFID tags and readers, but I would need one reader per room or area and they are very expensive. XBEE triangulation is a possibility, but this also sounds expensive and not sure of teh size of the devices the cats need to carry, I then thought maybe an IR lamp on the collar and a sensor in the room, but this requires a lot of power meaning a bulky pack on the collar, which I don't want. Final idea is maybe one cat has an IR reflective patch on the collar and the other a UV reflective patch and an IR and UV sensor in each room that sends out a flash of IR and UV every 10 seconds or so. But not sure if this is safe and if it can be done. So..... I'm looking for ideas from the community. It must not cost a lot. The cats mustn't need to carry anything bulky. The devices need to be wireless. Any ideas please? Thanks, Mike

if you wanna have it very exact, there is a conference tracking system they used on chaos communication congress. don't know how much it will cost you, but should be a fun project:

http://www.openbeacon.org/ccc-sputnik.0.html
TheArduinoGuy (author)  baramunchies5 years ago
This looks promising. I will check it out. Thanks.
robotguy45 years ago
What? Arundo? You don't need that! I have a solution that costs a few dollars. All you need are some bells, some string, and the ability to use your opposable thumbs to tie knots. Tie the bells to the cat (I'm debating whether the collar or tail is best... Probably collar) and there you go!
TheArduinoGuy (author)  robotguy45 years ago
Very cool solution. I'll bear that in mind.
I have always gone with bells. Cats are too damn sneaky.
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution!
NachoMahma5 years ago
. Passive IR should work to tell you when one or more cats are in the room. Something like the sensors on automatic porch lights1.
. I'd stay away from active UV - you probably wouldn't need enough power to harm the animals, but why take the chance?

1 Not a recommendation for that particular type, brand, or vendor, just the first one I found that was close.
TheArduinoGuy (author)  NachoMahma5 years ago
How would that tell the difference between the two cats? Also, people in the room? Surely that is just going to detect movement of anything emitting IR in the room?
. You are correct. I didn't understand that you needed to differentiate.