You might be stuck in the past, feeding batteries into a little laser pointer meant for conference room presentations. You hold it in your hand and wave it around manually. Yes, your cat goes bonkers for it, but wouldn't you rather handle laser-pointer duty with your smartphone from the comfort of your couch? If that's a "yes," then head over to Kickstarter and gawk at the Obi.
Obi is described as a smart laser toy for cats. It's a nifty bit of modern design, available in matte black or white with a cork interior. It looks more like a Bluetooth speaker than a cat toy.
It takes an iPad or iPhone to control the Obi using an app with an onscreen interface, where you simply draw your finger over the screen to aim the laser. It can also be set to handle itself automatically, or to turn on when you're not around. It also makes a noise to attract your cat for unsupervised playtime.
Don't freak out if you come home and find your feline buddy has trashed your house while you were out. At least your cat will have gotten some good exercise. The laser toy can also be set to only shine in a predetermined confined space in case you want to just aim for the nearest blank wall, far away from any breakables.
The Obi is going for an $80 (about £53, AU$114) pledge. The campaign has raised over $33,000 toward a pretty hefty $120,000 goal with 25 days left to run. Keep in mind that not every crowdfunding project delivers as expected and on time. However, Obi's creators have launched five other projects on Kickstarter over the years, so you can check the track records for those products to get an idea on how they deliver.
The Kickstarter comes with an interesting warning concerning Obi and dogs: "According to some animal behaviorists, some dogs exhibit 'obsessive' qualities, in which chasing a laser dot can mess with their psyche, since they can't actually catch it. If you are at all concerned about your dog's behavior in this regard you should not use Obi with your dog."
This isn't the first time a delightfully over-engineered cat toy has appeared on Kickstarter., a robotic mouse, exceeded its funding goal and is scheduled to ship to cat companions this fall. If you buy both Mousr and Obi (and your cat likes them), then you might end up with the fittest cat in your neighborhood.