OK, so he’s not a mutant, but he’s no ordinary cat. Mr. Lee has been outfitted with his very own CatCam, designed and built by his owner, J. Perthold, from a keychain digital camera and some custom circuitry. The CatCam provides a peek into the daily adventures of Mr. Lee as he prowls the neighborhood.
The success of the original Mr. Lee CatCam has spawned more feline tech accessories, like the CatTrack GPS tracker and the forthcoming CatCam Live, a CatCam with integrated antenna for broadcasting live TV feeds. Each has detailed (but accessible) technical specifications and build notes; it’s obvious that Perthold is a real enthusiast.
I particularly like the kid-tech opportunities these relatively inexpensive kits offer. The CatCam, for example, is available as a fully-assembled camera, a kit with all the necessary parts to make a CatCam, or (for the more advanced) just the IC and/or circuit board necessary to adapt a digital camera to become a CatCam. It might be fun to combine elements of the CatTrack and CatCam, to get more data about where each photo was taken.
The fun doesn’t stop once the CatCam or CatTrack is built, either. Decoding each payload of photos can introduce kids to the process of sifting through data for nuggets of insight. What’s that blurry blue box in the photo? Whose yard is that, and how did Fluffy get all the way over there? The photo galleries on the Mr. Lee site give great examples of the pet-exploration stories your kids might compose. There’s also a video overview on Youtube, in German for added incomprehensibility (after the jump).