Amuse shelter cats with online remote-control toys

AprioriControl builds interactive online playrooms for shelter cats. Viewers control the iPet Companion Webcam and robotic cat toys to play with adorable and adoptable kittens from afar.

iPet Companion
A robotic toy catches this kitty's eye. AprioriControl

I'm writing this article with a large rescue cat draped across my keyboard (yes, it's hard to type). Not every feline is as fortunate to have a home.

Animal shelters have tried out kitty Webcams to boost adoption rates. AprioriControl is raising the bar with iPet Companion, interactive online kitten playrooms that put viewers in control of feathery, flighty, and fluffy cat toys.

The kitty playrooms are currently up and running at shelters in Idaho, Iowa, and Oregon. I stopped off at the site for the Clinton Humane Society in Iowa where kittens named Dori, Nemo, Marlin, and Bruce rolled, tumbled, and attacked the remote-control toys.

Each shelter determines certain play hours. You may end up in a short queue when you drop by to play with the furry critters. The toys are attached to motors. Push the button on your browser to make them dance and whirl.

When it's your turn, you also control the direction of the Webcam. A live chat box lets you join in all the ooing and cooing from other users. You'll see gems like: "they r sooo cute lookit the kittys look it look it." It's easy to turn into a pile of text-speak mush when you're watching kittens play.

Related links
• Web conquest complete, cats set sights on iPad
• Paint for Cats: Your cat is an iPad Picasso
• Sensor setup stalks wandering house cats for study

Using the playrooms requires Silverlight, so a lot of mobile viewers are out of luck. It's not the prettiest interface, but the real stars of the show are the romping kittens.

The goal of the playrooms is to encourage adoptions. Think of it as a try-before-you-adopt sort of approach. It's also a good way to get a kitten fix if you can't have a feline of your own. Or if you're obsessed with cats. You know who you are.

iPet Companion toys
A Webcam and robotic cat toy controllers make up the iPet Companion system. AprioriControl

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
Bento boxes and gear for hungry geeks (pictures)
The best tech products of 2014
Does this Wi-Fi-enabled doorbell Ring true? (pictures)
Seven tips for securing your Facebook account
The best 3D-printing projects of 2014 (pictures)
15 crazy old phones from a Korean museum (pictures)