Cat doors powered by Computer Vision

Computer vision, once a science that was restricted to programmers, is becoming increasingly more accessible for those not specializing in the field and Aaron Forster is proof of that.

Forster, an IT consultant, has recently taken matters into his own hands, working to create a computer vision-based program that runs on his smartphone and operates a cat door for his pet, Timothy.

It works to recognize when the cat is carrying something in his mouth – such as a rodent or bird he picked up outside – and deny him access to the house if he brings those things in. It also will ideally disallow other animals – be it different cats or non-feline creatures – from entering the house. This idea is nothing new; in 2004 a similar program was invented.

While programs like Microsoft’s Kinect have made it easier for people to harness the potential power of computer vision, there also exists a free open-source code, OpenCV, which is able to detect, recognize, and follow objects. Using a code someone wrote for recognizing humans, Forster is reworking it to train it to recognize his cat instead.

As promising as Forster’s story is, however, computer vision is still complicated for the average user, and has a long way to go before just anyone can use it in the manner it was designed for.

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