Daphne’s tweeting catflap

Daphne the WonderCat is the feline owner of Kate Bevan, a tech journalist. Daphne is surprisingly active on social media for somebody who doesn’t have opposable thumbs; her Facebook is full of a mixture of (perfectly justified) boasting about her superbosity, and complaints about the inadequacy of her human support team.

Daphne, a very fine cat indeed

Daphne, a very fine cat indeed

Bernie Sumption, an acolyte of Daphne’s, had an observation to make.

Unfortunately, Daphne’s catflap was until recently mute, and couldn’t tell the world about its thoughts and feelings.

This was a pity, because Daphne’s catflap actually has a lot to tell the world. You see, the catflap *loves* daphne. Each time daphne passes through, its universe lights up with joy. Every time Daphne’s whisker brushes against it, a tremor of excitement passes through its little plastic body.

In this project, we gave the catflap a voice.

Each time Daphne walks through, the catflap will take a photo and tweet it, along with a little paean to Daphne’s greatness:

What’s going on here? Bernie describes the technology stack as not so much a stack as a “technology teetering edifice”, and illustrates it thus:


(If you, proud servant to another cat – or multiple cats, want to add another layer of complexity to such a project, you could also look into feline facial recognition with OpenCV, which, as Tomomi Imura demonstrates, turns out to be pretty effective, as long as they’re facing the camera.)

There’s a very nice account of the whole project, including all the wiring and code you’ll need on Bernie’s website. (People who are new to coding and who are interested in a standalone generative grammar project should also check out our Storytelling resource.) Follow the instructions, and your own home decor can produce this sort of thing:

(At the risk of being a massive curmudgeon, I’m a little torn on whether or not to follow Daphne’s Catflap on Twitter. She uses it an awful lot.)

Still, it’s rather pleasing to note that the script is tweaked to allow for seasonality.

Where would we be, internet folks, without cute cats? ADRIFT. That’s where. Please take some time to read Bernie’s extremely entertaining account of this project, tickle your cats between the ears, and let us all give thanks that not everything on Twitter is dreadfully serious.