Motion Sensor Cat Toy (endless fun... literally)

Picture of Motion Sensor Cat Toy (endless fun... literally)
The Motion Sensor Cat Toy uses parts from an old VHS player and other odds and ends to make a cat toy that never stops as long as your cat wants to play! It also starts moving as soon as your cat in near. Big fun for your cat and big fun for you!
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Step 1: What you need

Picture of What you need
$0.00 Recycle fake fur, wood, integrated circuit board, old tripod, old power brick ,
old leg weights
$0.00 Voltage meter, microcontroller chip, and microcontroller board (my brother's stuff)
$5.99 Motor, capacitor, and wires from an old VHS player bought at Goodwill
$0.00 Motion sensor which requires 3.3-5 volts
(in our electrical stuff box at home; these go for about $8)
$0.00 Solder and soldering iron with fine tip (Dad's; always us goggles)

Step 2: What each part does

Picture of What each part does
" Motion sensor: Detects motion from 20 feet away. When motion is sensed, a single bit output (electrical current) is created. This goes to the microcontroller chip.

" Microcontroller chip: When 5 volt message comes from the motion sensor, the microcontroller says turn on the motor for 5 seconds. My brother helped me with the code and we used his board to put the code on the microcontroller chip.

" Capacitor: This is between power and ground to smooth power to the microcontroller. The capacitor should be as close to the chip as possible.

" ET Tiny 25 chip: The chip holds the code. The code is the brains operating the motion sensor and motor based on electrical impulse.

" Voltage meter: The meter is used to measure how much DC voltage all the parts (motion sensor, motor, and resistor) take. If the voltage isn't correct, things burn up.

" Power brick: The power brick plugs into the wall and sends electricity to the unit (+ and  charge).

" Solder: The solder is fusible metal which connects wires and keeps the current flowing. I used a soldering iron to melt the solder on the VHS board to remove the capacitor. I used solder to attach the wire needed to make the circuit. Always us goggles.
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Great job! And extra points for doing it with your son!
Broom5 years ago

You teased us with a promise of

step 7See the cat sin action!

... but there was no dirty cat sinning action in the video at all!

Guess I'm going to have to go to for my kicks...
astrong0 Broom4 years ago
lol win :)
mason01905 years ago
Or, if you have an old VHS player in your basement collecting dust (like me), $0.00!
zeron-795 years ago
i just take a string, attach a toy and then attach that to my ceiling fan...:D
tmr5 years ago
Thats Really cool!
SavageSteps5 years ago
my cat has gotten caught in these spinning things BE CAREFUL FOR YOUR CATS SAFTEY
I was going to say keep the string long enough if the cat gets ties up in it he will still land on the ground and be stuck in the air. Cats are 10x quicker than humans so they can get stuck in a rope that is twisting.

Steven scrabble help fun

terry.bondy5 years ago
A simpification suggestion for others not wishing to purchase or program a microcontroller. Replace its function with a monostable multivibrator. See Monostable Multivibrator. At its simplest, it is a handful of resistors, a cap, and a pair of transistors, although you will likely want to add a beefy one as a buffer to drive the motor.
IBeHoey5 years ago
Just a thought. Instead of having the toy spin at a constant speed, which I think is a bit to fast for a cat toy, you should use a stepper motor, say, off of an old floppy drive. That way you could send random pulses to the motor which would add to the randomness while making it a lot safer.
rgraylint5 years ago
What a cool project! Nicely done. Mini-Instructable: In the past I have made a much lower tech, quick toy for my cat that is still a riot to watch. Take a regular 1/4" wide rubber band and tie a 8-9' piece of string to it. Stretch the rubber band around a ceiling fan blade (near the tip of the blade). Then cut the string off maybe 4-6" past (longer) where it hits the floor. Tie a second rubber band (or 2) to the end of the string so that when the fan is running at the lowest speed the dragging rubber bands grab the floor a little and hops around the circle as the string pulls it along. Play with string length so it doesn't stay still long enough for the cat to get a solid grab on it. Use a thin, light string (not yarn) so the dragging rubber band(s) catch the cats attention, not the string. The cat will run circles till she is exhausted. Then she will rest and do it again. Really fun to watch. !! CAUTION: Watch out for your cat's safety! Don't run the fan at high speed! Don't leave the rubber band/string on the fan blade when you are not there to watch the cat. My cat has never gotten tangled up in the string, but I imagine it is possible. Great job on the project and the Ible Kateham!
foobear6 years ago
D'oh, someone beat me to this idea, I've been planning something like this in the back of my head for a long time. The motion sensor part is the crucial piece that has been missing from all motorized cat toys in the stores. My cat won't stay interested in a mechanical cat toy usually because the motor is too loud or the motion is too predictable. She figures out right away that it's a repetitive motion and gets bored quickly. Also, it has to be super dangly with chaotic movement. Nice job.
Kateham (author)  foobear6 years ago
The cool thing about using a microchip is that you can build in as much repetitive motion or randomness you want. I could even get really crazy and let the cat have it after a number of seconds or minutes. That could be random too, like those crain machines that only grip enought to give you a toy after a certain numbe of tries. Humm... someone should market one of these.
We have one of those that has the mirror in it and reflects the laser. The cat likes it for a while - more if it gets in her cube or box. But you're right - she wants it (the light) back in it's own house before long....
lee786 years ago
If there's a rubber band in the string holding the lure, it will jump away when she lets go.
Kateham (author)  lee786 years ago
Good idea. That would make the toy a bit more random.
cyrozap6 years ago
Please embed the videos in the Instructable. Oh, and your cat seems to be having lots of fun. Maybe if the motor moved more random (see Twitchy, Your E-waste Friend). That would get the cat's attention, that and a laser pointer. Attach the laser pointer at an angle to the motor, then let the cat-fun begin!
cyrozap cyrozap6 years ago
Like so:
Kateham (author)  cyrozap6 years ago
Cool! I'll look at that. Randomness makes for more code. We've messed at home already and found a way to slow and speed the motor. I don't think a project like this is ever really done. There are so many other ideas. On the laser... I'm always afraid with my laser the cat will look in the laser and I will hurt his eyes. At least I've been told not to point the laser at the cat. They are laser lovers, though.
laser pointers are about Milliwatt and the more powerful ones are 5milliwatt and it takes a mere milliwatt or so laser to blind a human,and thats temporary the reason people say they're blind when a 1 milliwatt laser gets in they're eyes is because your eye will try to adjust to the high amount of light then when you take it off it takes your eye a minute or so to adjust the darkness
I love cats and do not want to harm them, but I saw this and thought it was the greatest thing ever.
fraggle cyrozap6 years ago
they make light beams now that aren't laser...
like this one...

i dont know how well they work... afraid to spend the money on it if it's going to be a dud

on the motion detection thing... try a high potency organic cat nip. my cat won't touch generic cat nip toys. but my cousin gave her this high potency organic stuff and she goes wild over it. adding something like that to the toy might attract the cat more.
i like cats to,and if you do use a 1MiliWatt laser
also if you like cats gimme a billion bucks_-(wink)
Kateham (author)  cyrozap6 years ago
I added some randomness. See the new video. I also embedded the links. Thanks for the comment!
tecneeq6 years ago
First, great invention. I have seen both videos and believe the cat's seem to be more interested if there is a wide swing instead of fast rotation around the own axis. I wouldn't bother with a laser tho, I think the point of the laser would be too fast for the cats to chase. Did you ever think about adding mouse flavor to the toy? :-)
Kateham (author)  tecneeq6 years ago
I'd have to catch some mice. Maybe I'll make a motion sensor mouse trap. ; )
cyrozap6 years ago
Adding weights to the base would be good, too. That would prevent it from being tipped over (as almost seen in the video).
Kateham (author)  cyrozap6 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
cyrozap Kateham6 years ago
It looked like it could in the vid.
Kateham (author)  cyrozap6 years ago
I added some of my Mom's leg weights on the bottom. See my new video.
cyrozap Kateham6 years ago
Seen the new video. It looks like your cats like it more now. Oh, and why has your other comment been removed?
Kateham (author)  cyrozap6 years ago
Ya, there is a bit more variety for the cats. I removed the comment because it said I could put my Mom's weights on the tripod (which I did). I don't know why the message says "removed by community request" since I removed it.
cyrozap6 years ago
You were mentioned on Hack a Day!
Kateham (author)  cyrozap6 years ago
So cool.
trossin6 years ago
I don't see safety goggles! Solder flux or solder in the eye is really bad.
Kateham (author)  trossin6 years ago
Whoa. Mom is on that one. Goggles for me. I added a note in the instructions. Thanks.
lemonie6 years ago
Yes, ignoring the toy you spent so much time making them is fairly typical cat-behaviour... L
Kateham (author)  lemonie6 years ago
We love our cats... and love learning about technology. It is also a cool toy for someone who is bed bound or has trouble getting up. It would be a hit at Grandma's place. The toy is a win for all! Thanks for your comment!
JoeyJunior6 years ago
The microcontroller was an Atmel Attiny25
MaltiK6 years ago
you failed to mention what kind of MCU you used...
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