MouseAir Will Supply Endless Fun For Your Feline Friend @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrypi

May 30, 2014 Kelly

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This project combines two of our favorite things: cats and raspberry pi projects. Using a Raspberry Pi, John Shovic developed MouseAir to entertain his cat Panther while he’s away from home. MouseAir uses RFID to know when to launch toy mice for Panther to play with. The device also uses a pi cam to take photos of all the action, via RaspberryPi.org.

But MouseAir is much more than just a launcher. As well as RFID detection of Panther’s tag (with a hand-built antenna) and ultrasonic detection, there’s a Raspberry Pi Camera Module on a pan/tilt base for capturing still images at critical moments, examining the launcher for jams, detecting motion and streaming video. Happily there’s a system diagram to help us keep track of all this.

A custom Python program running on the Raspberry Pi ties everything together. A fan of elaborate control panels, John wasn’t about to leave MouseAir without one, so he’s using the RasPiConnect app to allow him to control the system from his iPad via WiFi, using a satisfying number of buttons, graphs and pictures:

He’s already been working on a redesign! Check it out here:


The goals for the redesign are:

  • Reduced Cost – eliminate unnecessary parts and reduce cost of current parts

  • Single Power Supply – original design had two 5V supplies and one 12V supply

  • Improved Reliability – Mouse loading was only about 50% effective. Cat detection was about 30% from the RFID and too short range for effective detection (requiring strategically placed treats to trigger – We will be publishing that video!).

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