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March 22, 2012 5:43 AM   Subscribe

Has your garden been ravaged by the marauding squirrel hordes? Has your bird feeder been pillaged? Tired of shaking your fist at the neighbor children? Learn how to use Python to tap into computer vision libraries and build an automated sentry water cannon capable of soaking intruders.
posted by DU (34 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
How much trouble could I get into if I used a paintball gun instead, to better mark the little jerk(s) who egged my car?
posted by double block and bleed at 5:55 AM on March 22, 2012


We're all in struung out shape. But stay frosty. We can't afford to let one of those bastatds in here.
posted by zarq at 5:55 AM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


But has anyone fully considered the ethical implications of the use of robot drones in the war on cats around bird feeders?
posted by JHarris at 5:58 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


My pet python is a deterrent just lounging in the yard.
posted by 445supermag at 5:59 AM on March 22, 2012


But has anyone fully considered the ethical implications of the use of robot drones in the war on cats around bird feeders?

It will be interesting to see what happens when drones get so inexpensive that citizens can use them to monitor the police.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:09 AM on March 22, 2012


Profiling in action!
posted by crunchland at 6:09 AM on March 22, 2012


That super soaker is just completely inadequate. I don't understand why he didn't go straight for the garden hose with trigger spray attachment option.
posted by flabdablet at 6:12 AM on March 22, 2012


If only life had git blame.
posted by lucidium at 6:13 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, yes, gardens and whatnot. But can I use this to deter my cat from trying to break into things in the middle of the night?
posted by FirstMateKate at 6:13 AM on March 22, 2012


Actual operation footage starts around 16min though you really can't see the water.
posted by XMLicious at 6:14 AM on March 22, 2012


The audience member at the end mentioned OpenTLD ("aka Predator"), which looks like it might be a better place to start such a project than pure OpenCV.
posted by vanar sena at 6:17 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the open-source projects he mentions using at around 14:30 is Project Sentry Gun.
posted by lemuring at 6:18 AM on March 22, 2012




@ Brandon Blatcher-

Allready being done.

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/12/occupy_the_airs.php

The police will obviously have more money and weapons in the coming drone wars. I'm betting on the non government drone hackers more than holding their own though.

As far as the squirrels- If squirrels eat your garden, they are quite tasty free range meat, no hormones and organically raised... I can suggest recipes.
posted by bert2368 at 6:29 AM on March 22, 2012


I can suggest recipes.
posted by obscurator at 6:44 AM on March 22, 2012


When confronted with this problem, my scientist/engineer father simply wired up the bird feeder for current. You'd be at the sink washing dishes and notice a squirrel hanging upside down and feasting on a theoretical "squirrel proof" feeder, so you just flip a switch and the squirrel would shoot several feet in the air, land on the grass, and scamper off after it came too.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:46 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, yes, gardens and whatnot. But can I use this to deter my cat from trying to break into things in the middle of the night?

I am unclear on how an in-house water cannon is a good idea. That cat will just find a way to use it to make a bigger mess.

the squirrel would shoot several feet in the air, land on the grass, and scamper off after it came too.

That typo at the end is unfortunate. Now I am reading your comment as some sort of bestiality/electricity play fanfic, and that is a bit too far....
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:49 AM on March 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Don't make me flip this other switch, Genji.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:50 AM on March 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


"What defines squirreliness?"
posted by epersonae at 6:54 AM on March 22, 2012


When I read Python I was hoping for something a bit more intimidating....something elongated with a large bulge moving slowly along its length.
posted by caddis at 6:55 AM on March 22, 2012


Also, more scientific/technical presentations should use Yakety Sax.
posted by epersonae at 7:00 AM on March 22, 2012


Cayenne pepper, bought by the pound at Indian food stores, is all you need to keep cats, dogs, raccoons, squirrels, rats, ferrets, and any other mammal away from your garden, bird feeder, or other area. Sprinkle it directly on plants, in compost piles, mix in with bird feed, and watch those little bastards get an instant, harsh, but non-harmful dose of reality.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:05 AM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


How much trouble could I get into if I used a paintball gun instead, to better mark the little jerk(s) who egged my car?

All *I* know is *IF* you expand 'catch and release' fishing to land and use paintballs VS the local wildlife the DNR calls that 'animal harassment' and that's a fine.

(The DNR agents you ask that of will laugh also)

Why not use a different open source solution. 2 or 3 of these work better for triangulation.

GNU Radio tracks cell phones

Then add in some cameras.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:24 AM on March 22, 2012


Is there a way to program it to recognize bastards who don't pick up after their dogs?
posted by orme at 7:26 AM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


This ties in neatly with my latest idle inspiration, paintball big game safaris.
posted by Infinity_8 at 7:40 AM on March 22, 2012


Bought one of these for my dad a couple of years ago, basically the same thing. Looks like the price has doubled since then. They are very effective at handling his deer problem.
posted by Edgewise at 8:07 AM on March 22, 2012


I've always wondered if, like the system the guy came up with in the OP, they lose their effectiveness over time.
posted by crunchland at 8:18 AM on March 22, 2012


Infinity_8: "This ties in neatly with my latest idle inspiration, paintball big game safaris."

*snort*

Let's piss off deadly animals without incapacitating them.

What could possibly go wrong? :D
posted by zarq at 8:33 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why all the hate for squirrels? Rodents are our friends.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:53 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I created a lower-tech version last year when a stray cat started hanging around our feeders and eating the peanuts we put out for the birds and squirrels. I got a low-voltage valve normally used for residential lawn irrigation systems, hooked it up inline with a garden hose with a nozzle on the end and a remote switch. The system depended on a human detecting the intruder but we could just flip a switch in the house and the area under the feeder where the cat would hang out would get drenched. Actually used it twice over the course of months.

Then we started to feel sorry for the poor cat since he was scrawny as was so hungry that he was reduced to just eating the peanuts (out of the ground feeder) and I disassembled it.

Now we put cat food out for him and call him "Peanut". He(she?) eats, watches the birds for a while, and then goes off to other adventures.

What I need is something for the bears (to keep them away, not feed them).
posted by achrise at 9:57 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The audience member at the end mentioned OpenTLD ("aka Predator"), which looks like it might be a better place to start such a project than pure OpenCV.

TLD is a tracker; it has to be initialized by giving it the location (in the image) of exactly what you want to track in a starting frame, and after that it tracks the location of that thing in subsequent frames. So, for example, if you gave it the location of a specific squirrel in a starting frame, it could (potentially) find that squirrel in later frames, but probably (and ideally) would not find other squirrels.

In this case you want something different, namely a detector, which (ideally) finds all instances of a 'class' without having to be initialized on the specific video. So, for example, if you had a squirrel detector, it would automatically find squirrels in the video. These days almost all detectors are driven by machine learning, which means they have to be trained by providing them with examples of the class to be detected (e.g., images of squirrels).

OpenCV's Haar classifier is an 'ok' detector, but the real work involved with detectors is not implementing the algorithms, but getting enough training data; depending on the visual complexity of the class you're trying to detect, it can easily take thousands of training samples to train a detector with good accuracy.
posted by Pyry at 12:10 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pyry: "OpenCV's Haar classifier is an 'ok' detector, but the real work involved with detectors is not implementing the algorithms, but getting enough training data"

Thanks for the overview. Yes, Grandis did mention that he did a lot of manual training using recorded video. Sounded pretty tedious.
posted by vanar sena at 12:44 PM on March 22, 2012


They sell things that do basically the same thing, just using a regular IR motion detector. I'm not trying to take away the coolness or anything, just that if you're lazy you can just spend $50 and get mostly the same effect.
posted by Bonky Moon at 2:23 PM on March 22, 2012


Well the major difference (besides the hack factor) is that he wants the system to avoid scaring away birds. It looks like that thing squirts anything that moves.
posted by vanar sena at 5:10 PM on March 22, 2012


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