Design and Development of an Autonomous Feline Entertainment Robot (AFER) for Studying Animal-Robot Interactions

Catherine S. Adams, S. M. Mizanoor Rahman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The aim of this paper is to present the design and development of a safe and reliable autonomous cat toy for the purposes of entertaining pet cats when human interaction is not feasible. The proposed Autonomous Feline Entertainment Robot (AFER), an autonomous cat toy, is comprised of a table-mounted base, and a robotic arm with two linkages. The AFER Version 1(vl) has a cat-toy affixed to the end of a linkage as the end effector, while the AFER Version 2 (v2) has a passive joint with a string to which a cat toy end effector is attached. The AFER v1 has 2 Degrees of Freedom (DOF), while the AFER v2 has 3DOF, and both are actuated by servomotors interfaced with an Arduino microcontroller. In order to enable maximum functionality, the AFER is designed with multiple movement patterns or modes for play, as well as the ability to change the specific end effector of the toy. Position control was used for the motion and trajectory planning when developing the movement patterns. The interaction between AFER and two kittens has been evaluated in an experimental scenario, and the results show satisfactory and safe interactions. The AFER can be used as a model for studying effective animal-robot interactions and pet entertainment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSoutheastCon 2021
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9780738111315
StatePublished - Mar 10 2021
Event2021 SoutheastCon, SoutheastCon 2021 - Atlanta, United States
Duration: Mar 10 2021Mar 13 2021

Publication series

NameConference Proceedings - IEEE SOUTHEASTCON
ISSN (Print)0734-7502


Conference2021 SoutheastCon, SoutheastCon 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Signal Processing


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