What do you do when you have a constipated cat who eats plastic? Build an AI system that monitors the cat’s litter time, of course.
At least that’s what software engineer and YouTuber Estefanni did so she could stay on top of her cat Teddy’s bowel movements.
‘Did I make an AI whose only purpose in life is to watch my cat’s poop?’ asks Estefanni in the video. ‘Will it come after me when the machines rise?’
The engineer spent two years designing a machine learning system to log her cats’ pooping habits, complete with sensors, an infrared camera, a tiny computer, and about 50,000 pictures of cat poop.
This week, Estefanni posted a video to her YouTube channel describing the process of creating the AI system after learning that her cat had been eating plastic.
The cat owner wanted a way to monitor her cat’s pooping schedule to figure out of he was constipated.
‘I basically made a poop monitor for my cats. Like a baby monitor but a poop monitor,’ wrote Estefanni on her blog.
She even went the extra mile and built an oak plywood cabinet and folding table from scratch, to function as the cats’ ‘toilet’.
The system can even tell which of her cats, Teddy Bear or Luna, are using the litter box using object recognition.
To train the models Estefanni had to get thousands of pictures of Teddy and Luna using the bathroom.
‘I needed positive and negative models. The Teddy positive model is trained with pictures of Teddy using the litter box,’ she explained.
‘A Teddy negative model is trained with pictures of Luna using the litter box, blurry pictures, an empty litter box, my hands cleaning the litter box, and the occasional foot pic loll. And the same would go for Luna’s models,’
The final program shows all the historical data showing ‘what they did, the date, how long it took them, and the photo that was taken when they went’.
Estefanni said that in the process of building the system, she did have to watch her cats poo and pee for almost 2 years.
‘Don’t ask me about my mental health I did it for science,’ she wrote.
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