Home: Pet: Cat
Runaway home   (+8)  [vote for, against]
Self-homing laser dot for roaming pet cats

Cats don't always come when called, especially when not particularly hungry. However, sometimes you need the cat to come home, for example, when it needs to be taken to the vet.

Laser pointer dots are irresistable to cats. Using one of these, I used to be able to "sign my name" with my cat when he was a kitten.

Two small transmitters are installed in your house, which when activated, signals a tiny receiver in your moggy's collar. This in turn erects a small stem at the top of the collar. The top of the stem contains a low power laser, which shines a dot on the ground immediately in front of the cat.

Triangulating on the signal from the two home-based transmitters, the receiver orients the dot so that it points in the rough direction of home, staying within the feline's field of vision. So, if home is behind the cat, the dot shows 30 deg to the right until the cat turns around, the dot moves back to the centre, and the cat dashes furiously home.
-- Adze, Oct 13 2005

VOR triangulation http://www.circlemu...lization/sld010.htm
The triangulation aspect is borrowed from aircraft navigation, though feel free to transpose your own preferred homing signal method. [Adze, Oct 13 2005]

Or you could have a small MP3 player embedded in the collar that plays a sound of a can opener...
-- Cedar Park, Oct 13 2005

Very Pavlovian, [Cedar]. Maybe that could be the basis for a new idea: an iPuss.
-- Adze, Oct 13 2005

Cats are somewhat intelligent animals (moreso than most dogs, at least) and won't continue chasing something once they've realized that there is no way they will ever catch it. The LASER pointer would have to occasionally let the cat catch up to it, if the cat was further from home. It may also have to zig-zag, to make the cat think it was living, and more importantly, furry.
-- jellydoughnut, Oct 13 2005

How does it triangulate with 2…, how does it triangulate with transmitters, and why triangulate at all?
-- Shz, Oct 13 2005

[jellydoughnut], agreed for the most part, though not sure that cats are smarter than dogs; and certainly my cat took a long time to tire of the game - longer than it would take to run home.

[Shz], see link. You could get away with one transmitter.
-- Adze, Oct 13 2005

VOR doesn’t use triangulation. Also, it’s an absurdly high-tech way to get the cat home, so +.
-- Shz, Oct 13 2005

A dog wouldn't chase a dot of laser light for hours. That's because they're less intelligent animals.
-- jellydoughnut, Oct 15 2005

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