All in all, cats are pretty clueless. Show them some pixelated fish, mice and treats, and they'll jab their fangs right against the digital screen and try to take a bite.
Then … bam! Your tablet takes their picture, creating "cat selfies" you can treasure and share, you kooky cat people!
It's all made possible through the miracle of Candid Catmera, an app that combines looping animations with feline facial recognition technology to lure and photograph the furry little devils. To be clear: The app only recognizes cats, so Rover's routta ruck.
Developed by Brooklyn-based Current Studios and designed to engage cats when their humans aren't home, maybe it will stop the wee beasties from tearing up the furniture and destroying your holiday decorations. (As if.)
"About two years ago, we were asked by an agency if it was possible to make an Instagram for cats," Current president Nathan Kroll tells AdFreak. "In the process of exploring the concept, we found that some of our developers were using cat faces to test facial tracking libraries. One developer has actually built an OpenCV library of several hundred cats. That pitch never resulted in a project and the internal work was put on the shelf, until about six months ago, when we had the idea to evolve what we learned and create something a bit more unique."
Here's a clip that puts this tabby technology in perspective:
Look at Mittens go after that fish! Ha ha, it's just a digital display—no yummies for you!
"Every year we ask the team to chose a project they'd like to build," says Kroll. "It's primarily for team building and motivation. This year the team chose Candid Catmera. When we saw the initial beta, we thought it was awesome and wanted to make it bigger. We talked to the SPCA to see if we could harness this idea to help them. It's a perfect fit. We raise money for a great cause, tell a simple story with complex technology, and show that we don't always take ourselves too seriously."
Available for iOS in the iTunes Store, $1 of each $1.99 purchase price benefits the SPCA of Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Current maintains an office. So, there's no need to feel guilty about tricking kitty—it's all for a good
Would Current consider building a K9-Cam app displaying animated bones or bowser-bottoms to lure Fido for a photo shoot?
"Dogs are significantly harder than cats," says Kroll. "There is no shortage of cat pictures on the internet, so we have over a million photos of cats in our library," making it easy for the app to identify various breeds as they approach the screen so it can begin taking pictures. "For dogs, their faces have a very wide range of looks. Just think how different a Great Dane looks compared to a Pug."
Production House: Current Studios & Labs
President: Nathan Kroll
VP, Creative Technologist: Stephen Martell
VP, Operations: Matt Fegan
Producer: Dom Fegan
Animators: Matt Lambert/Jon Eisener
Designers: Stephanie Munn/Elena Kurevija
Director of Integrated Production: Jen Mete
Audio/Music: Justin Gaudreault
Development: Dennis Hubley/Joey Farrell
UX: Dennis Hubley