CatBot: Automated Cat Laser

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About: I like to tinker with just about anything, sometimes it works out in the end. Have fun looking at the projects, try tearing something open and let me know how it goes. cheers, -Joe

Intro: CatBot: Automated Cat Laser

The CatBot is an autonomous laser toy for your cat. You may say "But Joe, isn't the laser pointer the best toy for the lazy cat owner?" I'd have to say no, the CatBot takes one step further.

Using two servos, an Arduino and a cheap $3 laser you can provide your cat with endless fun.

Video of the CatBot in all of it's Laser Zeppelin glory  below:

Step 1: The Problem

I was buying pet food and saw a $3 laser from PetCo. I thought the cat might like it. I was wrong. The cat became obsessed. Constantly grabbing the toy off of the coffee table. But she only wants to play for 1 minute then sit and stare at it. So you think, OK I guess she is bored. You put it down....

And she's back pawing at it.

The CatBot is the solution.

Step 2: Parts

For this I used the following:
Arduino Uno
Hillman Hobby Parts (found @ Lowes in the screws/nuts/bolts area)
2 Servos
Zip Ties
$3 Laser cat toy.

Step 3: Disassemble the Laser

The laser pops open with a screw driver. You can see it used 2x1.5v batteries. But it actually runs better at 4.5v.

Step 4: Cut the Laser

The laser had to be cut up to fit on the servo arm. I drilled a hole in the center so I could mount it to the servo arm as well.

Step 5: Build the Servo Tilt/Pan

I used a hodgepodge of these cool mechano/erector set pieces from Hillman. They can be found in the screw/small parts drawers at Lowes.

Step 6: Wire Up the Arduino

For the Arduino wiring, attach pins 8 & 9 to the servos.
Attach the laser to 5v, but 470 ohm resistor inline before the laser.

Step 7: Load the Code

Use the code in the attached file to program the Arduino.

Step 8: Sit Back and Enjoy

Now that it is assembled and done watch it go...

Arduino Challenge

Finalist in the
Arduino Challenge

12 People Made This Project!

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58 Discussions

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StanleyK17

7 months ago

a light bulb shining thru a mouse template might work also.

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DevonR11

1 year ago

The patent point is moot, anyway. It wasn't renewed.

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cswanson166

1 year ago

Where did you buy your cat laser from? We are trying to find one that will be pretty easy to open...

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nissim.hadar

6 years ago on Introduction

Hi,

Is anyone aware of a possible patent infringement?
Look at http://www.google.com/patents/US5443036

Method of exercising a cat Kevin T. Amiss et a

Be careful ..................

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CrazeUKnissim.hadar

Reply 1 year ago

Ha ha thats just nuts.

Thats like saying, lets patent a fork. I canta ctually believe someone was allowed to do that!

There is no technical detail what so ever, the picture shows a person with a cat and a laser.

Build away, and sell it if you want!

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That kind of a patent is a joke. To break such a patent all you have to do is prove any one of the following:

1....Two experts in the field (Cat toys I OR electronics guess) find it to be "self evident"
2....It has been sold as a product before the patent was issued.
3....A substantially identical idea has been published ANYWHERE before the patent date.

I would be willing to bet ALL of the above can be demonstrated for this device.

This patent will NEVER hold.

"Easy clips" magnetic clip on sunglasses are a perfect example of this. They got a patent for something that has been continuously available in retail stores since the late 1600's

The patent never stopped anybody from making magnetic clip on's.

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DrStein99fly_boy_bc

Reply 2 years ago

It won't stop a guy at a flea market selling them or really anyone with a small business. Even a big business, consider you have to file paperwork and / or hire lawyer against their expensive law team. Patents are good for people who wish to take their currently successfully selling invention to investors, for huge amounts of money and licensing deals. In 1967, Robert W. Kerns filed patent for intermittent wipers. Car companies stole his idea and he pursued them in court. He won his case in 1990, and got paid between 1990 and 1995. He died in 2005. It took 28 years in court for him to spend the last 10 years of his life to live off the earnings of his invention patent.

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ntewinkelnissim.hadar

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Wow, I can't believe they actually got a patent for what seems to be nothing more than a laser pointer! And yeah from what I understand it's ok as long as you're not selling it, plus this robot toy is very different (also coming from not-a-lawyer).

Patents are only of concern if you want to sell a CatBot and then they would have to press their claim that the CatBot is not different to their handheld device.

He says, not being a lawyer...

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JBR7

2 years ago

How many volts do your servos need? 3.3V or 5V?

Did you make the servos share the same ground output from the Arduino board via a breadboard?

Did you make the servos share the same volt output from the Arduino board via a breadboard?

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holymoses

2 years ago

Lasers are too dangerous for cats eyes, everyone should keep hands (and any constructions on this purpose) off it!

1 reply
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goldenshuttleholymoses

Reply 2 years ago

@Holymoses: I fully agree with you. This project is indeed a great idea, but I would rather spend some time doing the laser myself instead of possibility of this cute creature gets its beautiful eyes hurt.

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Neoncat

2 years ago

it will help me to be close to my cats and they won't run away from me any

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Neoncat

2 years ago

this is cool

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Frankmedman

3 years ago on Introduction

Oh and I left out the resistor. Unintentionally at first, but it seems to work fine. I hade a different laser pointer. One that was in the form of a traditional keychain type.

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Frankmedman

3 years ago on Introduction

Totally cool. Still have it rigged in project form. I am going solder it, put it in a box and make some kind of permanent fixture. The only change I made was to the last delay. I decreased the time from 2000 to 500. My cat is still a kitten and is high energy. She would loose interest when it paused for 2 sec. Otherwise she loves it and so do I. Thanks!

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wilsondm

3 years ago on Introduction

parabens otimo passatempo para os gatos e outros curiosos como eu .


just finished mine! works great. but i can't see a way to adjust the speed in the code. or am i missing something?