The Cat Detector

Behold, the ultimate in VR feline safety* technology*!

Download the Cat Detector (includes source code)

Requires the Kinect v1 SDK to run

The Cat Detector uses a Kinect v1 sensor to take a baseline image, then scan for large, contiguous blobs. It plays a loud warning sound whenever it detects two or more blobs at a time, until one of the blobs disappears. Aim the Kinect at your HTC Vive VR playspace, get out of the picture, and hit "Baseline & Arm" to start it up. Make sure it has a clear view of any possible places a cat would enter the space, and immediately pause the game and look around if a warning sound plays, since cats tend to quickly slip into your shadow/out of sight.


Q: Is this thing reliable?
A: NO! Please don't use this as your main protection against stepping on cats/punching loved ones in the face! I cobbled this app together in a few hours of my spare time and have only tested it for a few hours total

Q: Will it lag down my computer?
A: Probably not. Even though my code is pretty inefficient, it's not doing much.

Q: How does it work?
A: You click "Baseline & Arm" to capture a frame of depth data, and then the app sounds an alarm if it detects two or more large contiguous blobs that are different from the baseline. The alarm stops when it gets back to one blob, and note that unless you're very careful with the way you position your Kinect, there will likely be large blind spots in your VR playspace, so pause the game ASAP and look around if the alarm goes off!

Q: Doesn't this interfere with the Vive's Lighthouse tracking system?
A: Yes, it presumably does a little! I haven't noticed any interference over hours of use though.

Q: Why not use the much cooler Kinect v2 bundled with early Xbox One consoles?
A: Two reasons: The newer Kinect interferes with Lighthouse significantly, and the v1 Kinects are good enough for something like this and available for as little as $20 used

Q: You're such a great guy! How can I give you money?
A: I already have a great job developing drivers at Microsoft, so any money you gave me would go to waste in my savings account. Just donate to charity, or buy some great Microsoft products online or at your local Microsoft Store!

Q: The Kinect is so awesome, isn't using it for something like this massive overkill?
A: Yes. Also feel free to download the source and modify it to work with a normal webcam

Q: When was the last time you bothered to learn anything about web development?
A: 1998

Q: Who are the real heroes here?
A: In no particular order: Microsoft's Kinect teams, Palmer Luckey, Oculus, HTC, Valve, Ray Marcilla

* DISCLAIMER: The Cat Detector app is not a safety app, and it is not guaranteed to protect cats from being stepped on during VR sessions. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Hard Mode Code, Ray Marcilla, Microsoft, Valve, etc assume NO RESPONSIBILITY for any cat injuries, human injuries, annoyed neighbors, etc that may occur related or unrelated to use of the Cat Detector app. See "License.txt" inside the CatDetector download for more info.

The author, Ray Marcilla, is employed by Microsoft as a BIOS/driver developer on the first party devices team. Ray Marcilla is not an official representative of Microsoft in any capacity. Ray Marcilla is not affiliated with HTC, Valve, or Oculus.

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