, , ,

CATILS: Coyote Auto Tracking Infrared Laser Sentry

coyote_attack_on_squirrel_image_by_ocpetsocregistercomHey Guys, its been awhile since I posted anything here, and I realized it was time to start a new project. So, why not document the new project here? This post will be the first in a series of posts, as I document the build envisioned.

I was having a lazy Saturday conversation with the usual suspects on twitter, when @RanchoDinero turned the conversation into this weeks best one. He had an interesting supposition to ask. How do you stop coyotes from killing your free range chickens?

The obvious choices of poison, mechanical traps and guns, were ruled out for a number of obvious reasons like: urban interface, pet german shepard and silly things like laws.

This turned our conversation into one that could explore different, more unique designs. This lead to a number of google searches and the creation of a quick working solution.

Well, I say working solution, as 90% of the parts are ordered and its a matter of waiting on the parts to arrive and be assembled before we truly have a working design. There is a company that sells “kits” for projects like this. Below is a snapshot of their product targeting their starter kit.


Here is what is what has been ordered so far. This list will grow.

  • Sentry Servo Starter Kit $49
  • (Includes USB servo server board & tracking software)
  • Green Laser Pointer $9
  • Red IR Laser head $6
  • 2 DOF servo kit $14

Our design also has a couple of freebie parts, the most imported being an included:

  • Acer One Windows 7 Mini laptop for running the tracking software $150ish

If you were to purchase all of the parts yourself, this project would realistically cost $250 or so in the current replacement costs of an Acer One today. So, lets get into the parts of what we will be assembling.

The picture below is our green laser pointer. greenlaser

This will be used for calibrating the pan and tilt tracking system we will be using. We dont need to modify the pointer. Its really under powered by design, but thats ok. It will work perfect for the process of identifying where the business end of the pan and tilt design is pointed.

The pan and tilt below, is a cheap Fleabay 2 degrees of freedom solution. In the future, there is industrial version we will upgrade to. However, this is more than enough to build a working proof of concept.


The image below is a 808nm 300mW High Power Burning IR Laser Diode that will be turned into the burner second laser, designed to provide a deterrent of focused heat on an object that gets warmer or said better, hotter, the closer they are to the sentry.


The first part of this project is to get an auto defending sentry design, that uses on the fly target recognition from a library of approved targets. Below is an example of this via the designer of the software we have licensed.


The onboard target identification can be used so it distinguishes between 2 legged and 4 legged animal targets.  The images are small black and white bmp. The example above is a jeep, for context.

The software is designed to allow you to train it in real time, by clicking on positive identified targets and having it learn the intended from the unintended successful targeting solutions.

Their software is design to work with examples like paint ball guns, that use CO2 to target an object. We will be adjusting this, so the design targets coyotes, ignores humans, and only uses a a short burst of IR to the body.

There is no reason to have to shot the animals with paint balls, or poison or even traps, when we can use some off the shelf fleabay parts and launch our own home SkyNet of our own.