Petvation's Motorized Pet Door Uses Furry "Facial Recognition" to Open for Your Pets Alone

Designed to keep unwanted critters out of your home, the Petvation door opens based on computer vision classification of your pets.

Petvation is aiming to bring a little artificial intelligence to pet ingress and egress, building an "AI-powered" cat and dog door, which puts "facial recognition" to work recognizing your furry friends while keeping out unwanted critters.

"We've completely redesigned the smart pet door concept to ensure the mechanics never crash. Well-trained cameras and sensors detect when your pet approaches the door and when they wish to enter or exit," claims Petvation's Anita Solomon of the company's eponymous product. "This technology means you're able to detect when unwanted creatures such as raccoons attempt to join your family."

Petvation aims to inject some machine learning into the pet door market, opening only for your furry friends. (📹: Petvation)

The oversized pet door features a pair of top-mounted infrared cameras, one facing in and one facing out, which are designed to classify cats and dogs in the video feed — with, the company promises, additional pet recognition in-the-works. Once identified, the door slides open vertically — closing again once a motion detector recognizes that the animal is clear, while an anti-pinch sensor watches for tails left dangling.

"Our mobile app allows you to take full control of its operations," Solomon adds. "You decide what times and days your pets are allowed in and out, and eventually, which specific pets have access! You can also track your pet’s door activity, so you know exactly when they’re in the house and exactly when they left. With the app, you can also control the door opening and closing from anywhere."

The company's furry "facial recognition" system is capable, it claims, of registering up to 32 individual animals, using full-body modeling to differentiate between similar animals — though the company claims there is no real upper limit, and says it will consider increasing the number of possible registrations based on user feedback. Power comes from a bundled 12V wall plug, with a USB socket for optional battery back-up via power bank.

The company is currently crowdfunding the Petvation pet door on Kickstarter at $139 for early bird backers, rising to $199 for the remainder of the campaign — with the device claimed to retail for $229 post-crowdfunding. All rewards are expected to begin shipping in October 2022.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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