Smart pet door lets your furry friends in, keeps critters out
Installing a little door in, well, your main door can be a great way to allow your feline friend or canine companion to come and go as they please, but sometimes leads to unwanted visitors too. Petvation is looking to change that with the help of AI facial recognition and a mobile app.
You may already have a little entry portal in your door that only grants access to your kitty or pooch, but that likely means your furry friends will have to wear some sort of "key" on a collar to identify them and unlock the pet door. And these can be somewhat bulky.
These days we can access our smartphones and computers using face recognition hardware and software, and it's this kind of technology that the Petvation system makes use of to ensure that access to the home is only granted to authorized family members.
As with other solutions, the Petvation setup is installed in one of the home's main exterior doors. Infrared camera arrays sit above the device on either side of the access point, with 120-degree lenses providing a wide field of view for monitoring activity out front and built-in night-vision lights allowing for day and night operation.
An AI chip runs the system's animal facial recognition algorithms offline, and the developers recognize that identifying and authorizing animal faces is more challenging than with humans, and therefore employ multiple-image full-body animal recognition. Indeed, the development team has so far pretty much nailed determining whether a cat or a dog is waiting to enter or exit the home, but is still working on fine-tuning the system to identify individuals. The AI model and algorithms are expected to be continuously improved over time for better accuracy.
And in addition to identifying cats and dogs, the system can also recognize all manner of critters, ranging from raccoons to ducks and foxes to snakes, so the entry point will remain firmly closed to unwanted guests.
On approach, the Petvation system identifies and authorizes the family cat or dog, and the motorized door slides up to allow entry before sliding back down to close off the entry point from anything following behind.
The company says that three independent safety mechanisms are employed to "keep your pet safe from head to tail." First, sensors detect and monitor the cat or dog as they approach and pass through. There's also a light-based anti-pinch mechanism in place to ensure that paws or tails aren't caught in a descending door. And finally the system checks the status of all sensors during operation and will enter a safe mode if issues are detected, and inform the human in charge via a companion mobile app that the Petvation needs some attention.
That app is also used for setup and control, including the ability to set curfew times, grant authorization to specific household pets and keep track of the comings and goings of furry friends. The door can also be manually opened or closed remotely from within the app.
The smart pet door is reported both windproof and waterproof, benefits from aluminum alloy construction and is mains powered via an included 12-V adapter to ensure continuous operation, though it can be cabled up to a USB power bank if desired.
The Petvation team is currently raising production funds on Kickstarter, where pledges start at US$169. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in October. The video below has more.