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SnappCat - memed pics from your cat to your phone

SnappCat is a small device that recognizes your cat(s), takes a picture, adds a meme, and sends it to your mobile phone.

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-Ever wonder what your cats are doing while you are gone?
-Do you love to have a good laugh?
-Wish you got more texts from your best friend?

Well, if any of these apply, then SnappCat is perfect for you!

What is SnappCat?
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SnappCat is a small device that uses a camera and image recognition to find your feline friend roaming throughout your house.

Once it recognizes your cat it takes a picture, adds a user categorized meme, and then randomly sends it to your phone throughout the day!

Nothing like sitting in a work meeting and getting a hilarious picture from your cat!

What challenge does this project address?

We wont lie, this project is primarily a great way for us to get enjoyment out of our animals when we aren’t there.

However, there are some side perks that we want to point out.

  • Safety - Since SnappCat is watching when your not, it has potential to catch your critter in a bad situation
  • Behavior - A lot of people get rid, or punish animals for doing the wrong thing when they are away from the house. SnappCat might point out why your little buddy is peeing on your curtains.
  • Acclimation of A.I. in the house - This device uses A.I. for the image recognition algorithm. It might seem like a stretch, but there are many people against having A.I. in their house. SnappCat might help people acclimate.

How is SnappCat Used?

The Team

  • William Gentry Glover - Electrical Engineer / CEO / Co-Founder
  • Francisco Ceballos - Computer Engineer / CTO / Co - Founder
  • Ben Petroelje - Electrical Engineer / CFO / Co - Founder

Hardware

When you are evaluating an idea, it makes sense to use off-the-shelf products; if possible. This is why the early prototypes of SnappCat are built with a Raspberry Pi Zero W, and the Rasberry Pi 8 MegaPixel Camera.

However, as we:

  • Prove the capabilities of our image recognition algorithms
  • Continue to see an increase in our potential market
  • Are aware of manufacturing limitations with the Raspberry Pi (being targeted towards education)

It is becoming obvious that the team at SnappCat will need to create our own hardware platform.

The good news is that we have the right people on our team to do just that!

Image Recognition


Here are some samples from our image recognition systems. Faces, a random box, and Newton (the cat):


  • 1 × Raspberry Pi 3
  • 1 × 32GB SD Card
  • 1 × 8 MegaPixel Pi Camera
  • 1 × Pi Zero - Pi Camera Cable
  • 1 × 5VDC 2A USB Power Supply

View all 11 components

  • Roadmap to Success (A Casual Business Plan)

    William Glover07/24/2017 at 03:29 0 comments

    The Concept

    There is a weekly gathering on the left side of the mitten state (Michigan), in a small town called Holland. Three Electrical Engineers, sit around a table eating cheap cuisine, talking tech, and hacking away on the worlds next best cat gadget.

    The device they are creating is compact, smooth, hip, portable, and contains a heart-warming touch that the user can specify during the time of purchase. It is powered with a small 5VDC supply; like the one that a Samsung phone uses. And while it is a piece of art in the physical, it is the software that adds a special touch to every feline friends home.

    The device is Snappcat, and it is the only device that autonomously finds your cat, takes a photo, and delivers it to your phone with a fitting message.

    This is not just another IP cam, or one of those other pet cameras that require people to spend time monitoring live video feeds while they are at work or the grocery store. Instead, SnappCat is autonomous, meaning all the user has to do is set it up, leave it alone; SnappCat will find the furry critters on its own.

    We agree, controlling lasers remotely through an application which has a live feed to your pet is fun… for about a week. However, unlike other these laser gadgets, SnappCat doesn’t get old. It is always autonomously changing things up. The user will have a profile which allows them to personify their cat. This means the texts received can be mean, funny, outrageous, etc. Also the texts come randomly, just like another person would send them. Do not worry, the frequency of texts can be adjusted in the user’s profile, as well as the desired time of day.

    Did we mention SnappCat doesn’t require the user to continually clean and fill a treat holder like other cat gadgets do? SnappCat is really the only “set it, forget it” monitoring solution available.

    The Reality

    While this whole SanppCat device sounds absolutely awesome, those three engineers that were mentioned above, aren’t quite there yet. Oh, and those three engineers have names and roles:

    • William Gentry Glover - Electrical Engineer / CEO / Co-Founder
    • Francisco Ceballos - Computer Engineer / CTO / Co – Founder
    • Ben Petroelje - Electrical Engineer / CFO / Co - Founder

    Since this publication is on the Hackaday page, we won’t repost all of our progress, but we will tell you where we are heading, and what we need.

    Step One

    It is our current goal to launch a beta/alpha-ish device on Kickstarter with an initial release of up to 100 units. We are planning small, because we are small. The belief is that this will let us scale up slowly and have a reliable product. By the way, that money Hackaday is giving away could really help us out with this stage. The quotes we have received on injection molding our current design are ~$10k. Also, the computer we would like to build for training those “autonomous” algorithms is ~$3k.

    Step Two

    After the initial release we would like to launch a large beta, and then launch one more time with the official product.  This is where SupplyFrame could really come in and help us learn what it really takes to turn SnappCat from beta, to a real product, and more importantly into a company. We desperately need coaching in business and marketing, and we believe SupplyFrame can do that.

    Step Three

    Well there really isn’t a step three in this very casual business plan, it just seemed fitting at the time of writing this. And while there is not a step three, and this business plan isn’t traditional, it does not include every nickel and dime, or an executive summary (we have that one tucked away in our file cabinet), it is an opportunity for us to tell you we are serious about SnappCat, and we really want this to succeed. We can humbly admit though, that we need Hackaday’s and SupplyFrame’s help, so please consider us in the Top 20 (preferably #1) for the 2017 Hackaday Best Product.

  • Updates (long time no post)

    William Glover07/24/2017 at 01:23 0 comments

    Hello all,

    It has been a long time since I (William Glover) have updated anything on our Hackaday page, and for that I do apologize.

    However, even though it has been a while, we have not stopped working! Since last time we posted:

    • We have continued to update our image recognition algorithms
      • Let’s just say, I am becoming a believer that this is really going to happen. Every time we train, we are getting more accurate, and in turn getting less false positives. We are testing against random videos off media websites. It puts a smile on my face – it really does.
    • Switched from the Pi Zero to the Pi 3
      • We are ramping up for a possible beta/alpha-ish release! In order to do this we needed to have hardware that is readily available. The Pi Zero W is just too difficult to get at this point in time.
    • Designed a new case!
      • Yea that is right, the cases you all have loved, were in fact lovely. However, they did not accommodate the Pi 3, and l promise the new case will not disappoint! I’m not including any pics yet, because we are playing around with docks, and mechanical options which will be customizable by the consumer (which is you!!)… What is better than non-custom… Custom!
    • Social Media
    • Got our first server up and running
      • We have acquired a long-term loaner server, and it is glorious. We are working on everything from how users interface with SnappCat, to how many users do we want to support (in the beginning); To infinity and beyond –Buzz Lightyear

    Alright so my apologies on the lengthy blog, which contains no pictures… wait, I will add at least one picture. Anyways, this is what we have been up to, people of Hackaday; so love our page, follow us, comment, you know do everything awesome!

    Meet The Team - Gentry (William), Ben, and Frankie.  Not pictured - Newton (cat), Zoro (cat)


  • Building a Better Database

    William Glover04/21/2017 at 01:35 0 comments

    It is the heart & sole to any good computer vision system... a good image database.

    This is why our group has been working hard on expanding and building our image database. Stay tunned for more updates. :)

  • Cat recognition

    William Glover04/18/2017 at 11:22 0 comments

    Over the past couple weeks the team has been working really hard to further improve our image recognition algorithms. This is a picture of Snappcat's latest algorithm at work. Thus far it seems to be really robust in medium to low light conditions, and so-so in locations with really intense light. We believe this is not so much a limitation to the algorithim itself, but more so because of the way the camera focuses in these conditions. More updates coming soon! :)

  • First prints

    William Glover04/13/2017 at 01:34 0 comments

    Changed the enclosure design, and had some fun printing on the Lulzbot mini; New purple filament :)

  • Log 1 - Enclosure Design

    William Glover04/02/2017 at 07:28 0 comments

    Started working on an enclosure. Here is the first revision render:

View all 6 project logs

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Discussions

Clinton Matos wrote 04/26/2017 at 19:38 point

Looks great! I covered it on my blog: http://www.htxt.co.za/2017/04/26/snappcat-is-a-raspberry-pi-camera-that-will-autonomously-send-you-pictures-of-your-cat/

Quick question: are you planning on making the code public?

  Are you sure? yes | no

William Glover wrote 04/27/2017 at 00:18 point

Clinton,

Thanks for the blog!

In regards to the code:

Education is very important to our team, and we would love for others to be able to learn from what we make. Currently, we do not plan to release our exact algorithms, because we want to sell SnappCat as a product someday. However, our hope is that others will be able to see our videos, posts, and gadgets, and use them as educational tools to further create their own genius gadgets.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ember Leona wrote 03/31/2017 at 22:44 point

make cat filter app to turn cats into cartoons or other animals faces and then it will be even more entertaining. I saw a similar dog thing. Torture the cat with cookies that would be a funny video again. NYAN CAT PLUS ANGRY BIRDS = GRUMPY CAT MINUS KEEBLER PASTRY

  Are you sure? yes | no

William Glover wrote 04/01/2017 at 00:23 point

@Ember Leona lol great minds think alike :) we have definitely thrown around the idea of filters . I think right now that would be kind of a stretch goal for us. We would really like to tailor the memes to create a persona.

  Are you sure? yes | no

RoGeorge wrote 03/25/2017 at 19:54 point

Very nice graphics and title,
:o)

  Are you sure? yes | no

William Glover wrote 03/27/2017 at 13:45 point

Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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