HomeIn MediaGadget NewsAmazon Engineer Develops Smart Self-Locking AI-Powered Cat Flap

    Amazon Engineer Develops Smart Self-Locking AI-Powered Cat Flap

    Artificial intelligence’s influence, perspectives, and benefits are not always clear. Regarding its advantages, AI would have a low error rate when compared to humans, if coded properly. It features incredible precision, accuracy, and speed. It’s not affected by hostile environments, proving able to complete dangerous tasks like exploring in space, as well as endure problems that would injure or kill humans.

    Earlier this past month, Ignite Seattle took place. Ignite Seattle is the largest open submission public speaking event in the Pacific Northwest. Going back to the AI subject, machine-learning technology packs amazing potential, proving able to help fix any little problem in life that no commercial gadget can. For Amazon engineer Ben Hamm, that problem was stopping his cute, yet bloodthirsty, night-hunter cat Metric from bringing home dead and half-dead prey in the middle of the night.

    During this year’s Ignite Seattle, Hamm gave an entertaining presentation about his issue with Metric. To put it simply, Hamm connected the cat flap in his door to an AI-enabled camera (Amazon’s own DeepLens) and an Arduino-powered locking system. All this just to stop his lovely cat Metric from following his basic instincts. Hamm collected and hand-labeled around 23,000 training images, which makes it a lot of data sorting.

    Hamm wanted to use machine-learning technology, so he loaded the camera with machine vision algorithms that were programmed by himself. These algorithms identified whether Metric was coming or going and whether he had prey in his mouth. The machine would go through three “Yes or No Stages”. “Stage 1” would check if there was a cat inside the video frame, or not. If there was a cat being recorded, “Stage 2” would occur, judging if the cat was coming to or leaving the house. And finally, if a cat was coming into the house, or Metric to be specific, “Stage 3” would check if he was carrying a prey or not. If the final stage’s answer was “yes,” the cat flap would lock itself for 15 minutes and Hamm would get a text with the pictures through an Imgur ( integration.

    To top it off, since Ben would obviously feel bad for all the other animals, the system proceeds to send a donation, or “blood money” as Hamm calls it, to the National Audubon Society, which protects the birds that cats love to prey on.

    This is a great example that perfectly shows us the everyday utility of AI. Just like Hamm presented to the people at Ignite Seattle, a little bit of intelligence can go a long way… even proving able to outsmart a cat.

    David Novak
    David Novak
    For the last 20 years, David Novak has appeared in newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV around the world, reviewing the latest in consumer technology. His byline has appeared in Popular Science, PC Magazine, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Electronic House Magazine, GQ, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, Newsweek, Popular Mechanics, Forbes Technology, Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Glamour Magazine, T3 Technology Magazine, Stuff Magazine, Maxim Magazine, Wired Magazine, Laptop Magazine, Indianapolis Monthly, Indiana Business Journal, Better Homes and Garden, CNET, Engadget, InfoWorld, Information Week, Yahoo Technology and Mobile Magazine. He has also made radio appearances on the The Mark Levin Radio Show, The Laura Ingraham Talk Show, Bob & Tom Show, and the Paul Harvey RadioShow. He’s also made TV appearances on The Today Show and The CBS Morning Show. His nationally syndicated newspaper column called the GadgetGUY, appears in over 100 newspapers around the world each week, where Novak enjoys over 3 million in readership. David is also a contributing writer fro Men’s Journal, GQ, Popular Mechanics, T3 Magazine and Electronic House here in the U.S.

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