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Scholarship Submission Answered

I've been lurking arund the site for quite a while now thinking to myself what I would make with a robot of my own. I thought about what the Roomba did for freeing people up and keeping their surroundings in order. And then it struck me. I just moved into a very tiny apartment with my grad student fiancee and her two cats. While we are here in the studio, the kitties are mostly behaved. When we leave, all hell breaks loose. They fight each other, they tear up the furniture, and make a general mess of things. My entry would be a robot that would keep these two-faced cats in check when human supervision is absent. 1) Upon detection of couch scratching or a fight between them (using some microphones mounted in stereo), the robot would first approach the cats. If, after some period of time, they do not stop, an audible warning like a burst of white noise or "NO!". If it continues, the robot would then squirt a stream of water towards the offenders. 2) If the cats are behaving themselves and no misbehavior is detected for, let's say 90 minutes or so, the robot would praise the cats audibly and dispense a treat. I addition, one cat digs chasing a laser pointer, the other likes playing with string. So, there are other positive mechanisms in place to keep the cats occupied. 3) The robot would then dispense a log of the what actions it took and when once the owner returns. So there is some accountability for the robot overlord. There you have it, the Lion Tamer, I guess?

3 Replies

SolamenteDoug (author)2007-06-26

I was thinking about using two small, widely spaced unidirectional mics. And set the voltage out of them at some threshold for a noise like clawing. In an empty apartment it ought to be the loudest thing occurring. I was going to use the law of cosines to solve the direction of of noise and maybe some idea of the distance. The robot will have to make necessary adjustments for obstacles. As for squirt guns, I had original thought of windshield wiper pumps despite their current draw and voluminous output. Speaking of, I'll have to some sort of low power standby. These cats are relentless. This is all in my head right now of course. Here's to hoping!

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Kira_Koenig (author)2007-06-25

Well, I guess we will see what kind of endurance a create has. I can imagine your cats keeping it very busy! ;)

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aarone (author)2007-06-25

This sounds really cool. Do you have a method for determining what a noise is? Or is it just going to react to noise?

I like the water squirting concept, it might be easy to pick up an electric squirt gun (do they make those anymore?) and patch the robot into it.

I would recommend that you mount a camera on the Robot and get a recording of what's going on. Two sites related to that:

Good luck, and I'd love to see this project!

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