Is a $ 98 robot mouse the future of pet toys?

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TEASING, GALORE The SHRU digital cat toy, equipped with on-board computers, imitates the random movements of a particularly provocative mouse.

1. Scrambled animals

Egg shaped, SHRU (pictured above) rolls in random directions at varying speeds thanks to on-board computers that help it mimic the erratic movements and sounds of small animals (with a fluttering tail). When Tiger is done beating SHRU, the toy will automatically turn off to save power, preventing you from having to charge it too often through its USB port. $ 98, pdxpetdesign.com

2. Get rid of

Cats also instinctively love to chase and destroy small toys that more realistically resemble mice and bugs. But most plush toys are too inert to provide the thrill of the hunt. Made with computer controlled motors, Hexbug Toys go for it at random to keep your cat in pursuit. The mouse toy stops to wait for your pet to strike it before rushing forward, while the Nano Bug convincingly (and frighteningly) moves until its batteries run dry. If it is knocked down, it can straighten up and keep moving. Of $ 5, hexbug.com

3. Bird’s eye view

Connect the compact, innovative Petcube– a combination of video chat camera and laser pointer – to your home’s WiFi, put it on a shelf and you can use it to monitor your pet via laptop or smartphone at any time. It also allows you to sing affectionate affirmation (or warning) words and even tease your feline with the laser pointer you control from your mobile device. Bonus: Record playback time in 1080p HD for online sharing. Petcube can help soothe owners who spend a lot of time on the road imagining destructive cat behavior. $ 149, petcube.com

4. Groovy feline

If all this cat-centric tech is making you feel left out, consider Qoobo. This “tail pillow that heals your heart” was designed by Japanese engineers to provide the comfort humans get from cradling a purring kitten. Pet it, pet it and it reacts by wagging or swinging its tail gently like a real cat. Despite its “Black Mirror” vibe, Qoobo is ideal for people with a feline allergy or who just don’t want the responsibility of a real cat. $ 95, qoobo.info

Robot hands evolve from hard claws to soft fingers. This breakthrough could transform e-commerce, agriculture, food handling and other industries.

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Published in the print edition of March 10, 2018 under the name ‘.’


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