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CheetahBeam – a DIY automatic cat laser toy

Thanks to Frank aka fluxaxiom for sharing this project with us!

I probably don’t have to tell you that chasing a laser pointer is something cats love to do. But there are many of us who either don’t have enough time to play with our cats, or maybe we need a way to distract the cats while cooking, or say, typing on a laptop. This laser plays with your cat for you. This device consists of a 3d printed case holding 2 servos and a laser pointer, batteries, a switch, and a small micro-controller. The software that is uploaded cycles through 12 functions at random. I made the functions by playing with my cats with a laser pointer, and when they responded to something I would translate that to code.

If you don’t have access to a 3d printer you can still build this using any small project enclosure, and any reasonable way of sticking the servos and laser together. My first prototype used velcro on servo horns and it worked fine it was just ugly. There are also a number of cheap pan tilt mechanisms available but be aware that if they mount differently it may change the way the patterns are projected.

Above is a video showing my cats playing with the CheetahBeam. There is also a way to calibrate the device to the size of your space! We don’t want the laser pointing out the window onto the street below. You can roughly change the play area by pulling off either servo mount or laser mount and rotating the desired angle before pressing back on. If you are comfortable programming in arduino you can change a few lines of code to have even more control over the area the laser covers.

Read more.

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