Baidu New Smart Cat Shelter Uses AI to Differentiate Between Cats and Dogs


China’s top search engine company Baidu made a smart cat shelter in Beijing that uses AI to check when a cat is drawing closer and open its door. The cat shelter is heated and furthermore offers cats’ food and water.

Other than running China’s primary search engine, Baidu likewise takes a shot at AI devices in general and owns iQiyi, a Netflix-like rival that uses algorithms to figure out what viewers might be keen on viewing next. While cat shelters usually appear to be out of the extent of what Baidu does, the organization says that the thought originally came to one worker, Wan Xi, who discovered a small cat stowing away in his vehicle the previous winter and started to sympathize with the plight of other stray felines. Wan at that point apparently shut himself at home to develop software and work on a conceivable solution, using tools from Baidu’s AI team. At that point, consulting with volunteer groups, Baidu made the actual physical shelters as a team effort.

Baidu is situated in Beijing, where temperatures can drop to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (- 9 degrees Celsius) in the winter, leaving stray felines in entirely desperate conditions. Baidu wrote in a blog post that just 40 percent of stray felines endure the winter all things considered. While the backstory and the technology itself feels somewhat gimmicky, this appears to be a genuinely good application of AI to help stray animals.

While examining a feline’s face at the door, the cameras are likewise evidently equipped for checking the feline for maladies and furthermore to check whether the feline has been neutered by trying to recognize an ear tag. On the off chance that a sick or non-neutered cat is found, the system will ping a nearby volunteer group to provide help to the cat. Baidu likewise specifies in its blog post that many stray felines tend to not be neutered, implying that they can simply proceed to mate and spawn more cats, worsening the living states of the felines overall.

After the feline enters the shelter, the door will close behind it to keep some other critters or stray dogs from entering. (The developers appear somewhat biased against stray puppies.) The felines themselves can wander ahead to a living room of sorts.

The AI system is evidently equipped for recognizing 174 various types of cats. The cameras additionally are furnished with night vision so that if any felines meander around during the night, they can, in any case, enter or leave the shelters. The system can recognize four basic sorts of cat disease, including stomatitis, skin infection, and external wounds.

AI is being used on creatures to an ever increasing extent. There are instances of it being used in projects aimed at wildlife preservation and even in reuniting owners with lost pets. The majority of these efforts are trials and experiments with the nascent technology.

One of the difficulties of capturing the faces of creatures with AI is to get them to point their faces to the camera. For Baidu’s situation, in any case, it appears that the doors to the cat-sized shelters are small enough that the camera perched on top should be able to get a good view of the cat’s face.


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