Cat-talk! An interrogation with the neighbourhood cats / Pirate Broadcasting as Reportage

Video Link: Click here

Initially, the video was named ‘Cat in the hole’, but later renamed to better reflect the video contents. Similarly, in spite of what I thought would happen in the filming as the situation and filming environment was fixed, the footage turned out slightly different from expected and hence the renaming of it.

When broadcasting, there was nary anyone around me, save for the one odd figure who was passing by the area. Despite that, I felt extremely conscious as I dislike posting on social media being a more private person, and that my video had the outreach to the entire Facebook user population. It felt that I had the power and wield to however, make my own voice heard amongst the sea of media.

As it was my second attempt, the first being a video directly filmed before this, the previous video gleaned comments instead of the second one, as it had the first viewer advantage. The few comments mainly commented on the content, basically aww-ing at the cuteness of the cat-objects. However, I opted to post the second video instead as it felt to be more of a reportage.

Screenshot of previous video shot + comments
Screenshot of previous video shot + comments

I disliked the video footage quality as it was pretty grainy thanks to the bad quality camera and weak 4G data connection, but at the same time, it added to the beauty of live recording – the rawness and spontaneity of it.

Necomimi /Device #1

The Necomimi is a wearable device which senses the user’s brainwaves and reacts accordingly. The neko (cat)’s ears, at the top of the band wiggles and changes direction in accordance to the brainwaves sensed.


How it works (Official Company Statement):

Step 1: Neurons firing in the brain give off electrical impulses, which are picked up by the forehead sensor.

Step 2: The Necomimi headset captures brainwave data, filters out electrical noise from the environment, and interprets it with NeuroSky’s Attention and Meditation algorithms.

Step 3: Your mental state is translated into ear movements and shared with those around you!


The necomimi adopts a very simple, user-friendly design – ear-like extensions of both sides, and a protruding sensor to sense EEG. The necomimi perches on a user’s head, the same way a headband does.

It is a visual representation of our brainwaves, and like our feline friends who communicates via body language, the necomimi tries to emulate this unspoken communication through the realistic depiction of cat’s ears.

In my opinion, the necomimi is definitely appealing to the common crowd, especially the animal-lovers. Its cute and simple design makes it easily an accessory to your common day wear. However, beyond its novelty, there is little practical use for it.

Perhaps, more additions could be made to it – to increase its user mileage, and interaction between fellow necomimi users, the necomimi could:
– light up when other users are near, prompting the user to interact with fellow neco enthusiasts
– include other sound effects, or changing in colour, ie. more output feedback



Cat in the Box


A mini project, where the appearance of the cat is voice-activated. Should the sensor sense a louder volume (input) above a certain threshold, the box lid will open up, revealing the little cardboard kitty (output).

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The kitty’s appearance was aided by servo-motors, activated by a Phidget Interface Kit.

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The Phidget Interface Kit was then plugged to MaxMsp on a laptop, which also served as a microphone to determine the magnitude in volume of the surroundings.

See the kitty in action:

Cat in the box! / Phigets Servo-motor controller


My little cat! Created out of recycled cardboard, with a mishmash of different scotch tapes. As in outer side of the cardboard has graphics printed against it, I decided to invert it, thereby cutting the box up and attaching them together to create my very own box.

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Strings pull the lid close, and the small piece of cardboard pushes the lid up. The cat itself was a makeshift shape of a cat.

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As seen. In total, I used 2 servo motors – one to control the cat, the other to control the lid. Perhaps, with better crafting skills, I would be able to cut the number of servo motors down to one. To do this however, I require a larger box – currently, the box is palm-sized – and more ‘attachments’ to attach the cat to the handle/gear that pushes the lid open. To simplify things, I decided to do without it.

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Peekaboo! The cat comes out a few milliseconds, after the lid opens.

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Attaching the cat box to MaxMsp via a cable.

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The inner workings of the cat box – one servo motors is raised in the air, the other attached to the ground.

When one speaks to the box, the lid opens – but no cat in sight! For this is sure some shy cat. Hence, speak louder, but what you say does not matter. The cat will appear for a short while, then disappear, if the threshold volume has been reached. Otherwise, only the lid will open.


See it in action:

In hindsight, I would have included an additional feedback – where the cat would mew back at the user, via an added soundtrack into the max patch. Pertaining to the documentation, I would have also put in human interactions (which I forgot to record earlier) – perhaps, of the user drumming the lid of the box, or attempt to catch the cat.


Patch used:
Finalised Patch Cat in the box