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measuring my cat's activity Answered

Hi guys,

I'm trying to create a little gadget to measure my cat's activity throughout the day by measuring its steps and sleep. I can attach a regular fitness band around its neck but I've got no clue as to the algorithm to go along with it since cats obviously don't move the same way our wrist or arm would.

Any ideas?

Thanks for the help!

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Kiteman
Kiteman

5 years ago

I think you're going to have to work this out for yourself - start by comparing step-lengths.

Pick a measured distance, then walk it yourself, wearing the gadget and counting your own steps yourself.

Compare the steps you counted with the steps the gadget records.

Get the cat to do the same (it may be easiest to video the cat, so you can count its steps in slow motion).

Do the whole thing again at different speeds - stroll, brisk walk, jog, run etc - and repeat it as many times as you can to get averages.

You'll then need to watch the cat acting normally for a day or three, so that you can get an idea of how much of the day it spends walking, running, sleeping so that you can get an idea of the overall accuracy of the results you come up with.

All the way through this, remember to make notes of what you do,and take photos, then you can turn the whole thing into an instructable that will probably be very popular amongst cat-lovers.


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Juan FelipeT
Juan FelipeT

Reply 5 years ago

That's a great idea. I had been pulling my hair on how to work on this and all I needed to do was go back to basica. Thanks I'll try it out and work from there!

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Downunder35m
Downunder35m

Reply 5 years ago

Sometimes the easiest solution works best, Kiteman has a habbit of cutting down to the easy bits in his answers :)

I, personally think that if you can make it work it could have great potential for other people, but I also think it will be quite hard because:
I know from my cats that they walk in many different ways.
The worst for you would be the "lazy sneaking" - here there is little to none movement of neck and head.
And then there is the problem of four paws vs 2 legs - causing a totally different motion of the boy.
So you might want to try a 3-way accelerometer or gyro sensor.
Take two registered max values within a fixed time as one step.
As it would mostly register the head movement as max values you can work out the actual travel distances with a video as Kiteman suggested.
Based on the movement interval within a timeframe you can detect if the cat is just walking, sneaking or running / jumping.
With arrays for the calculations based on the above you should be able to address quite accurate distances for every movement you specify.

In case the step counting does not work out try the laser mouse ;)
Ok, bit more complex as you can't keep a fixed distance with the laser.
So instead a cam would be required and the software compares differences from frame to frame.
Based on the average height when the cat is walking you can calculate the speed and distance from the image data.
Might no work on floors with little to no optical features for detection.

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Juan FelipeT
Juan FelipeT

Reply 5 years ago

Yep, cats are quite something so I think I'll be spending a lot of time with my cats and videotaping them to try to get an idea of their different movements in certain area. Will keep y'all informed of any progress :D

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Downunder35m
Downunder35m

Reply 5 years ago

Hope to see the finnished thing one day here in action :)

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Toga_Dan
Toga_Dan

5 years ago

sounds like you'll be the expert soon!