That’s the basis for a device called CatNani, a robot that promises to tirelessly guard the tables and countertops in your home; keeping a beady eye on your furry feline and scaring it off those surfaces by way of an ultrasonic warning — backed up by a quick burst of harmless citronella spray for good measure. Over a short period of time, the hope is that your cat will learn to respect its robot overlord and steer clear of climbing where it doesn’t belong.
A bit like the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, CatNani boasts some smart sensors it uses to get its job done. These include object-detection sensors, pet-location sensors, and all-important table-edge detectors, so your new robo-gatekeeper doesn’t plummet off his perch the moment you leave for work.
The team behind the project is almost comically overqualified for the task at hand — with the inventors coming from, or having done work for, companies including Amazon, Microsoft Research, and Facebook, and having an assortment of deep learning-based image recognition qualifications to back up their dream of cat-free kitchen surfaces.
Right now, the product is available for pre-order on Indiegogo, where a CatNani unit will set you back $55, with a proposed shipping date of January 2018.
Sadly (for us, not the cats) the product may take a bit longer than that to come to fruition. So far, CatNani’s campaign has raised a whopping $330 against a target fundraising goal of an optimistic $500,000, with just 14 days left on the clock. While we fully appreciate that anti-cat robots are something of a niche product, we don’t think it deserves that kind of disappointing fate.
Let’s hope that CatNani has eight more lives left after this one …