Crazy idea - robocop application to protect a Koi pond

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Crazy idea - robocop application to protect a Koi pond

Post by babba » Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:11 pm

Hi there,

after cats and Heron's have stolen several times my expensive fishes from my small pond - I decided to start a new home project.

My vision: A solid installed camera is adjusted that it oversees the whole pond and the mask is set to detect activities of the pond and the edge.

The plan is to shoot to the cat, dog or heron - NO PANIC - just with high pressure water :wink:

So it would be great if ZoneMinder could somehow provide - in case of an alarm - the size of the object (pixel) and the horizontal angle to track the opject, to move the water gun in the direction of the object and to turn on the water if the object size meets give values (maybe via serial interface?).

Has anyone out there already done something similar?

Any hints/ideas are appreciated.

Greetings from Germany


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Post by zoneminder » Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:55 pm

ZM does already report the centre of the detected motion and it's approximate size. This is placed in shared memory when an alarm occurs and can be accessed via the perl API. However it is only approximate.

So getting where the motion is is not hard and outputting it to another application would also be easy. The problem you have is mapping an x,y coordinate on the screen to some kind of command to point a hose. It may be easier just to set a sprinkler or something off that covers the whole area perhaps?

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Post by boaba » Fri Mar 09, 2007 6:50 pm

Interesting project.
I guess if you want to go with zoneminder, a setup with several strategically placed alarmzones that triggers and/or direct the "water-canon" might be easiest, not very accurate unless you have alot of zones.
alt2 is a 10 centimeter (or so) high electric fence around the pond designed so it doesn't kill the fish but is close enough to the pond that any animal that tries to stand close enough to reach down in the water get a jolt. :)

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Post by babba » Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:47 pm

Thank you to zoneminder and to boaba for the comments.

I recently started my experiments with one surveillance camera TV7043 - which is mounted so, that the whole pond is visible in the 78deg lens angle.

At the moment I am playing around with the zone settings - trying to get rid of the false alarms caused by the change of sunlight when clauds cover or un-cover the sun. The terasse (which starts at the edge of the pond) is light gray and therefore reflects the sunlight (and all the changes).

@zoneminder - would you have for me some simple code snippets I could look at - how the pearl coding is done (oh no - another computer language I have to learn). What would be the easiest way to activate/deactive a valve via ZoneMinder alarm. It is still not clear to me how to easy interface to the real world.

Also I would be interested how to easily disable ZoneMinder with a signal from the real world - i.e. when having some BBQ with friends on the terasse (I don't have that many towels :lol: )

Good Night and greetings


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Post by Flash_ » Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:58 am


ZM has an X10 interface, and X10 is the most matured way to interface computer generated stuff with real world environment.

Probably best to get a mains X10 adapter and a sender unit. ZM talks to the sender via a direct wire, that puts the signal into your home electric wiring, which is picked up by the receiver on the socket near your pond. You'd then have a water pump/jet or similar (or just a plug in fountain) plugged into the x10 receiver.

(All this as I understand it, never actually used it myself)

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Re: Crazy idea - robocop application to protect a Koi pond

Post by jamescollings » Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:52 am

babba wrote:The plan is to shoot to the cat, dog or heron - NO PANIC - just with high pressure water :wink:
You could set the alarm zone to be a sufficiently small area, that if it triggers you will know EXACTLY where your quarry is. I would guess that there is a "shallow" part to the pond which is where they are taking your fish from (or at least, an easy edge from which the cats are leaning in).

Oh yes... and an air-rifle could be triggered using some lego technics kit.... allegedly

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Post by coke » Mon Apr 28, 2008 1:56 pm

Good luck with this project. I'm hoping to do something similar with pigeons on our roof eventually, but I already have too many side projects to try it now. I was actually thinking of a cutting laser, but I don't expect I'm going to get one of those by the time I start this.

I don't think accuracy will need to be spot on with your water cannon, though it would be cool if it was. Most animals that don't like water streams would probably be scared away by a nearby stream.

I'm having enough problems with motion detection in stationary locations so far, maybe you could trigger with some IR sensors across the top of the surface?

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