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Cats love lasers. Humans love Raspberry Pis. What do you get when you mix them together?

A crazy, DIY robot called the trilateral that will amuse cats to no end.

The trilaser uses a Raspberry Pi computer and a so-called Pan-Tilt Hat, a robotic add-on that moves the laser. The creator, Enzo Calogero, built the robot for his cat Xander.

From RaspberryPi.org:

Pan-Tilt HAT, which has vertical and horizontal servo motors. ?A pair of coordinates (x, y) is generated randomly,? explains Enzo. ?The laser point moves from the current point to a new coordinate, following the segment that connects the two points, at a speed defined by a status variable. Once the new coordinates are reached, we loop back to point one.?

To add extra interest for Xander, its movement is randomised further by switching between three laser diodes to perform micro random movements very quickly. ?Switching the active laser among the three allows extremely rapid movements of the laser dot, to create an extra variability of the light trajectories which seems more enjoyable for the cat,? says Enzo.

You can learn how to build the robot here or just enjoy watching Xander jump around in hopes of one day catching that damn red dot.


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By John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.