[kickstarter url=http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1046165765/egg-the-intelligent-cat-companion width=640]
Keeping cats interested in any one toy for any length of time can be difficult, at least in my experience. Plus, most of them require a lot of manual input on the owner’s part. The Egg is a Kickstarter project that aims to keep things interesting for the cat, and save energy for the owner, with a smart toy that moves on its own and can be programmed via a laptop.
The Egg looks like its namesake, but contained within its plastic enclosure, it holds an offset weight and gearmotor, along with a printed circuit board. The Egg can detect floor type and even obstacles, like a cat’s paw or person’s foot, and rotate its weight using the gearmotor to change direction. The result is a ball that can continuously roll and keep a cat’s interest without any human intervention.
Or, with limited human intervention, I should say. The Egg still needs to be charged up, using a microUSB port on its side, and it can be plugged into a computer to switch it to various interaction modes using a desktop software interface.
Speaking from experience using an iPhone-controlled Sphero robot, this seems like a design that will indeed appeal to furry friends. Egg’s creator Jason O’Mara says that it isn’t designed to withstand the rougher brand of abuse that can come from dogs, however, so limit the Egg to feline pals only. O’Mara is an electrical engineer based in Portland, Oregon who previously worked for electronics industry vet TDK, among others.
Egg has managed to get within spitting distance of its $15,000 Kickstarter funding goal, so it’s highly likely it’ll reach it before long. O’Mara anticipates shipping the first production run by June, 2014, and backers can secure a pre-order for $31. That’s a small price to pay for what could potentially provide eternal enjoyment for your bored domestic animal.