Prize-winning cat-on-your-keyboard detector

Here’s an appreciative look at the Ig Nobel Prize-winning cat-on-your-keyboard detector. Zachary Crockett writes, on the Priceonomics blog:

The Software That Detects When a Cat Is Messing with Your Keyboard

… While 140 Ig Nobel prizes have been doled out in history, only one has been awarded in the category of “computer science.” This distinct honor goes to PawSense, a software designed to detect when a cat walks across a computer keyboard.

cat-like-typing-detectedAs cat owners all too familiar with this phenomenon, we had to find out what PawSense was all about.


After earning a degree in computer science from Arizona State University in the mid-90s, Chris Niswander spent his post-college days coding puzzle mazes, building Japanese language learning programs, and building python obfuscators. Then, somewhat fortuitously, the idea of the century descended upon him.

“One day, my sister’s cat, Amos, walked across her computer keyboard and managed to uninstall some software, delete crucial files, and crash the machine,” Niswander recalls. “I figured out that he’d triggered a series of keyboard shortcuts (ALT, CTRL, F1-F2) with his paws….”

BONUS: Here’s video of a performance of the song “Kitten on the Keys”: