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Bizarre Tech: Tesla dog mode, Qoobo pillow and Mookkie food bowl

It’s a special pet edition of Bizarre Tech this month, because who doesn’t like our furry friends? Have a look at a twitching pillow, a spying food bowl, and a car that keeps your dog safe.

Tesla dog mode

I get it. Sort of.

You should never leave dogs in cars, hot or not. Almost imperceptible temperature changes in the vehicle can kill your pooch.

I would only understand if you could afford the sort of vehicle that could keep the car cool for your dog, and desperately wanted a furry companion to fill that ‘more money, more problems’ hole in your life.

I have to say, if your dog is being looked after by your Tesla, then it already has a better life than most humans. Because, you know, it’s a Tesla.

However, the electric car maker released the ‘affordable’ Model 3 recently, and that got poop reviews, so I don’t know how trustworthy this whole dog mode is.

Also, technology can fail at any time. On a searing hot day, leaving your puppy in the Tesla may seem like a good idea because of the reassurance of dog mode, but the thing may end up becoming Skynet, and purposely make the car overheat and cook your furry friend. I’m just saying.

Don’t trust technology to always do the right thing.

Then again, those dogs looking cool as heck in a Tesla while their rich mama or papa are in the shops buying premium dog food will probably be OK. We’re not at terminator level yet.

 

Qoobo wagging tail pillow

Reminds me of a Davy Crockett hat.

So the Qoobo wags its tail when you stroke it.

Apparently, this robotic throw-pillow-looking furry thing will even wag its tail occasionally to say ‘hello’. Just in case you’ve forgotten that you paid for what looks like a cat with its limbs and head missing.

The tail is supposed to bring the user comfort – the company calls it ‘tail therapy’ – and you will ‘wrap yourself with fuzzy love’.

The Qoobo is designed to make users feel as if they’re interacting with a real animal, bringing them a sense of contentment. The makers say it’s ideal for people with pet allergies who have always wanted a furry companion, or for someone who can’t have pets in their home.

The swishy-tailed pillow has been developed by Yukai Engineering, who thought it was a good idea to invent a cat with no head or legs.

At least the Qoobo won’t give you any feline sass.

Apparently, Yukai Engineering is continuing to study animal tail movements “to offer users more realistic experiences”. Alrighty.

Its size, weight and texture gives the Qoobo a lapdog feel, so you’re comfy as you stroke it.

It comes in two colours – husky grey and French brown, whatever that is.

The fur cover is removable, so you can wash it after all your dirty handling. It can also be replaced with a cover of your design if you really, really want to, as the company will be releasing a template so you can make your own.

The Qoobo is durable too, so you can chuck it away from you once you realise that you’re stroking a tail pillow thing, and that you should probably invest in a hamster or something. Just think, if someone was watching you, you would look like a crazy person.  

 

Mookkie food bowl

The definition of AI overkill.

This AI-powered pet bowl might not actually be a bad idea for cat owners, especially if you have a greedy-guts pet that steals your other furry companion’s lunch.

It seems a bit over the top with the tech, but it could work.

So Mookkie uses Volta AI, which powers the visual recognition system. Basically, the feeder can tell the difference between your pets – I believe the gadget is aimed at cats – and distributes the food accordingly. It opens its flap and feeds each animal, banning ‘food thieves’.

However, I’ve seen some cats do a sneak attack, shoving its head into the bowl alongside the other moggy. Does the machine do something with this? Make an alarming sound? Probably not. The bowl design is supposed to keep other greedy faces away, so if the animal who is meant to be fed hasn’t eaten it all, and there’s a bit left, the thief can’t swoop in and yoink the remaining kibble. I’m not sure if it’s completely cat-proof, though. Those guys are smart. One cat might maul the other and steal its face.

The front-facing camera of the Mookkie sees the animal, and the images are processed through the deep neural network, establishing whether it’s the pet associated with it, which is a bit like facial-recognition tech that unlocks your smartphone. If the pet is paired with the Mookkie, then they get their foods.

The food bowl is removable and magnetic so it self-centres when repositioned. The bowl shape is also good for your pancake-faced kitties.

There’s the Mookkie App for your smartphone, so you can receive notifications and video clips. The Mookkie also has a night light so the cat can see its food in the dark. Because its eyesight is so poor, right? Or paw. Get it?

You can also have it personalised with your moggy’s name, just in case it can read.

Mookkie is due to go on sale in September at $189 (about £143).

 

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