While you are cozying up in the warm blanket this fall, have you ever wondered about the stray cats and dogs out there? How are surviving in the numbing cold of subzero temperature?
No, China is not as cold as Russia, but things can be very harsh in China too. The temperature in China can drop down to – 20°C (– 4°F) in the northern regions. The average temperature lies somewhere around – 10°C. Reports suggest that about 40% of the stray cats can manage to have sufficient foods during winter. And Beijing’s temperature is cold enough to turn the water in ice. That’s why most of the stray cats have a life span of only two years.
Something had to be done!
Well, Wan Xi, a Chinese engineer, came up with a mind-blowing plan that could save the poor cats in the streets. The engineer works in Baidu Brain – the department of Baidu, that specializes in open AI. Wan Xi used his resources from Baidu Brain to design a future-ready pet shelter for the cats in China.
Xi’s pet shelter is a 165-centimeter-tall wooden box that has a small entry for the cats. Inside the wooden box, there are multiple levels available for a few cats. The box also features a scratching post, a few dangling toys hanging inside, cozy resting places, and hideaways.
So, where does the AI come to play?
An AI monitors and controls the access control system. It uses face recognition technology to identify 174 breeds of cats. The facial recognition system is based on Baidu’s propitiatory EasyDL platform.
When the AI detects a cat, it opens the entry or the exit. The camera also features night vision detection so that dark-colored cats can use it in the night.
Wait, there more!
The AI can also detect diseased cats, not every single disease but the major ones. Upon identifying the sick cats, it sends an alert message to t nearby animal rescue centers or the helpful volunteers.
The smart cat shelter always maintains the inner temperature at 27°C. It’s the most comfortable temperature for the cats. So, the main question is – will the cats use these shelters?
To make the cats comfortable, the door doesn’t shut off immediately but wait a few minutes so that the cats feel at home first. Reports suggest that stray cats are actually using these shelter homes.
After seeing the positive results, the local government is planning to build similar shelter homes for dogs too. An AI startup called Megvii is already developing a prototype for the stray dogs.
If they can manage to build the dog prototype, it can literally save millions of lives. A 2005 report estimates that about one million stray animals roam the streets of Beijing.
It seems like Wan Xi is actually making the world a better place with the power of technology!