Cats follow lasers. Lasers can be aimed by computers. Computers can run YOLO. YOLO can detect cats. We now have a beautiful hackathon project.

I worked on this with Shreyas Kapur at HackMIT over the course of 24 hours. A small custom pan-tilt system guides cats around with a Microcenter $4 laser pointer. A webcam running a YOLO-based model customized with IBM Watson generated training data (courtesy of Shreyas) identifies cats and tries to make them run towards a selected room.

Unsurprisingly, the hardest part of this project was getting the cat to actually play with the laser pointer. A cat’s apathy truly is the strongest force in the galaxy.