This Videographer Took 50,000 Photos Of Cats In Their Litter Box, But It’s For Science

Two years. This is the time it took Estefannie, videographer and engineer, to develop a computer system allowing her to remotely monitor the transit of her cat Teddy and to know as precisely as possible her defecatory habits. On August 28, she published a six-minute video, relayed by Gizmodo, detailing the why and how of this rather unexpected project.

You should know two things about Teddy: this cat likes to eat plastic, and he is frequently constipated – which apparently explains it. Hence the desire and the need to closely observe what is happening in his litter box, explains Estefannie. To develop the smart surveillance tool she had the idea for, the videographer started by taking around 50,000 photos of her two cats (Teddy and her four-legged roommate, Luna) defecating, in order to to establish a database.

A simple algorithm listing the visits made to the litter box would not have been enough: Estefannie also needed to know the identity of the animal that had defecated (or tried to defecate) in this dedicated place. It was therefore necessary to find a way to differentiate the incursions of Teddy and those of Luna. Based on the many shots taken, she therefore developed a script in Python language, well known to high school students.

Scatological predictions

Result: based on Teddy’s various visits to the litter box, Estefannie has developed a tool for predicting her next visits (time of day, duration, nature of the need). This then allows him to know if Teddy’s transit is in good shape, or if his last ingestion of plastic materials has pushed him once again towards the painful world of constipation.

Produced with the utmost seriousness, the project is presented with humor by its creator, who is well aware that simpler solutions exist and who fully assumes the ridiculousness of such a device. “Will she come for me when the uprising of the machines comes?”she wonders in front of the camera about the artificial intelligence developed, which, if it were equipped with a conscience, would indeed be quite angry that its destiny is to monitor cat droppings.

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