Cat Car

Update: I added the video I had looping at ITP’s Winter Show at the bottom of the post. Also, the project got picked up on Engadget – check it out here! You can see my setup at the show and hear me talk about it for a bit.

My final project for Phys Comp is Cat Car, a “Feline Fitness Frenzy!” It was intended as a cat exercise toy, however ultimately the cats I tested it on didn’t really care much for it. But that’s not the point! I learned quite a bit about accelerometers, gyroscopes and XBees along the way, which I’ll share here.

Cat Car lets humans “drive” their cats by turning a laser pointer from side-to-side. The laser pointer is attached to a harness worn by the cat and its angle is determined by a steering wheel. The cat, wanting to follow the laser, will go where it is. We hope.

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Tests for Cat Car

Cat Car is a cat exercise device. Using a wireless steering wheel, you control a laser mounted on a servo (mounted on a cat). Steering wheel left, laser left, cat left.

I’m using a MPU-6050 “6 degrees of freedom” accelerometer/gyroscope. I will write a long post later detailing all the issues I’ve encountered (some solved, some I am still dealing with). But for now, here’s a little video.