Cat LED strip toy

As a kitten joined our household in the summer of 2019, I decided to build a cat toy consisting of a running LED for the cat to chase.

This was a far more difficult project than I initially expected because cats turn out to be extremely picky. The programming and the electronics were fairly simple, consisting of an Arduino Nano and LED strip plus some code involving two behaviours that alternate through a state machine. However, the kitten would only play with the toy after iteration number 7. This definitely taught me that user-centred design is much easier when it involves humans.

I later sold a few of these units and to add some more user-appeal, I added a potmeter to change the colour of the LEDs. I wrote a short function that I’m fairly proud of that cycles through the three RGB values to be able to change the hue (3 variables) with a ‘sensor’ that produces a linear change between two values.

To practise more with open-source design, I created an Instructable that details the building process. The code I wrote can be found there. The case for the Arduino Nano can be found on Thingiverse.

Creating the toy and writing the Instructable both helped me develop my abilities in designing for users in the area of User and Society.

cat led strip toy cropped
inside cat toy