Inspiration

This semester, I’ve been really stressed, and as a result, I haven’t been able to spend as much quality time with my cat. As we all know, cats require much more attention than the average person would expect.

What it does

The CAT is a rotating, all-in-one, technologically-advanced cat toy to cure you and your cat of pandemic woes. In addition, it will absolve the owner of guilt when they have to attend Zoom meetings that are not cat-friendly since the cat will be entertained in the meantime.

Features:

  • Spinning stick with mouse & parrot suspended from ends
  • Changes speed depending on lighting conditions (ie my book's distance to the photoresistor)
  • Changes direction upon button press
  • LCD monitor either a) prints number of seconds since last button press and prompts owner to press the button periodically every 10 s b) displays current speed of the motor

How we built it

  • ATmega328p
  • 16x2 LCD display
  • 12V DC motor
  • photoresistor
  • button
  • my last 3 brain cells

Challenges we ran into

  • Servo Motor vs. DC Motor: Originally attempted this project with a servo motor, which definitely did not have the power nor speed needed to drive the spinning stick. Rewrote code for a DC motor (borrowed from another professor's lab) before acquiring another motor off of Amazon, which I modded by hot-gluing a wooden stick to it.
  • LCD Display: Countless issues with existing libraries, so I ended up writing my own 4-bit LCD library. Works wonderfully now!

Milestone Goals

  1. Prototype a working motor setup (single-speed)
  2. Print to LCD screen
  3. Evaluate whether customer is satisfied

Final Demo Goals

  1. Achieve all goals
  2. Fully functioning stepper motor and LCD
  3. Cooperative cat 🐱

Proposal Presentation and Milestone Demo

Proposal: https://youtu.be/xZwo6nZekfY

Milestone Demo: https://youtu.be/wE9lcKsiDW4

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Built a fully functional cat toy, which was highly entertaining.

What we learned

Learned how to write my own 4-bit LCD library, H-bridge motor control, and systems integration.

What's next for CAT: Continuous Attention Toy

More play time :) 🐱 Bluetooth control and other fun toys

Built With

  • atmega328p
  • c
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