Cat Tracking using Bluetooth Indoor Positioning

Picture of Cat Tracking using Bluetooth Indoor Positioning

This Instructable teaches you how to build a system to track indoor positioning of cats. The purpose of this project is to get insight into pet positioning and see their interactions.

The system incorporates RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) to estimate cat position. A bluetooth device is put on the cat, and other bluetooth devices are used as device scanners ("beacons"). These beacons scan the area for the Bluetooth device attached on the cat. The scanning process results in a RSSI for the discovered device. The stronger the RSSI, the closer the cat is to the beacon. In order for the localization to work, we collected "fingerprints" of the RSSIs to multiple beacons to be used as training data for a classifier to predict the location of the cat. After collecting fingerprint data, we ran the live system with the cats to collect test data. We used Machine Learning on the actual test data to predict the location of the cats using the fingerprint data.

The system is based on

List of Materials

  • One or more cat to track.
  • An apartment or space for cats (preferably a natural environment the cats are comfortable in)
  • At least three Bluetooth-enabled devices to use as beacons. We used Android phones with an RSSI reporting app (explained in steps 3-5)
  • Any Bluetooth-enabled device to attach to the cat. We used Samsung Galaxy Gear.
  • Tape
  • A web server with a database (explained in step 1)
  • A visualization for the data (explained in step 9)


This instructable was made as part of the CS graduate course "Tangible Interactive Computing" at the University of Maryland, College Park taught by Professor Jon Froehlich. Please see for more details. This project was done by Hitesh Maidasani and Sana Malik.

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bjf505126 days ago

can you use anything that transmits Bluetooth to stand in for the watch? Does this work for multiple floors?

Fwank491 month ago

Is there a pre-compiled apk for the rssi reporter?

ch.quin1 month ago

Can i have the procedure and method to teach me how to make it? i need it for my fyp. need it asap!thx so much

papablecamz1 month ago

what android version did you use ? reply asap.

OsamaA5 months ago

Hi, I do really appreciate it if you can explain the fingerprint process, and also how can be connecting to database

DJCoopes7 months ago
There are 11 'apps' at the website...
not sure which one.
yaba10 months ago

Awesome project. Will build it as soon as I can convince my girlfriend to have a cat :)

Fr0stByte yaba10 months ago

or sneakily put on the girlfriend ;)

yaba Fr0stByte10 months ago

LOL :) NSA is doing that for all of us, no need to buy gadgets :)

yaba Fr0stByte10 months ago

LOL :) NSA is doing that for all of us, no need to buy gadgets :)

agis6810 months ago

very neat!!!! what is the cover range of a bluetooth device or it varies

hmaidasani (author)  agis6810 months ago

The phones we used could scan devices that were 10-15 feet away. I assume it does vary from device to device.

agis68 hmaidasani10 months ago

thanx. I ask cause i have 2 cats and they hidding in my house which is quite big.....and sometimes (hardly if they are hungry) i seek all house places and its annoing.

hmaidasani (author)  agis6810 months ago

Yeah, you can definitely make this a real time application that tells you where your cats are.

Trillistar10 months ago

neat idea, would make it much easier to find the collar when my cat takes it off:)

DJCoopes10 months ago

Can't find the app.

hmaidasani (author)  DJCoopes10 months ago

Which app are you referring to? Did you not find it here:

Wolfbane22110 months ago
Cool data! Why not do this on yourself to see where you spend the most time while your at the apartment or house?
hmaidasani (author)  Wolfbane22110 months ago

Something worth trying in the future.

Techtopoly10 months ago

Really neat concept! Typo correction, I believe you meant to say "These cats were" ... not ... "harmed or distressed by wearing this collar."

hmaidasani (author)  Techtopoly10 months ago

Fixed. Thanks.