Tech

An Amazon engineer made an AI-powered cat flap to stop his cat from bringing home dead animals

Machine learning can be an incredible addition to any tinkerers toolbox, helping to fix that little problem in life that no commercial gadget can handle. For Amazon engineer Ben Hamm, that problem was stopping his “sweet, murderous cat” Metric from bringing home dead and half-dead prey in the middle of the night and waking him up.

Hamm gave an entertaining presentation on this subject at Ignite Seattle, and you can watch a video of his talk above. In short, in order to stop Metric from following his instincts, Hamm hooked up the cat flap in his door to an AI-enabled camera (Amazons own DeepLens) and an Arduino-powered locking system.

The camera was loaded with machine vision algorithms trained by Hamm himself. They identified whether Metric was coming or going and whether he had prey in his mouth. If the answer was “yes,” the cat flap would lock for 15 minutes and Hamm would