New Software Lets You Play With Your Pets At Work
"This company still doesn't recognize cat maternity," Angela whines. She was out of vacation time, and so had to set up a direct feed from her living room to her work computer, so that she could monitor her new $7,000 Princess Lady.
The kitty-cam is no longer just a concoction of writers on TV's "The Office." It is real, and beyond Angela's wildest dreams. The $349.99 iPet Companion includes an HD video camera, as well as a remote-controlled arm with a kitty toy and the software to make the toy jiggle and dance to your fluffy pal's delight.
Working "parents" can now allay their guilt, and feel connected to their cat while perched at their desk. Maybe the cat on the other end is connecting with a robot, but it can probably feel your presence, right?
Of course, this technology may sound an alarm for employers. If YouTube videos of kittens making human sounds already cause companies to lose approximately $1 billion in annual productivity, one can only imagine the financial cost of watching your actual cat being cute in real time, anytime you want.
But the iPet offers great pluses for some employers. Animal shelters hope that the technology, which will allow cat-lovers to play with their tenants from afar, might improve adoption and donation rates. Scott Harris, who developed the device, has donated them to a half-dozen animal shelters across the U.S.
The iPet can also be used to keep cats well-behaved in a way "The Office" writers couldn't even imagine. When the "ugly cat," Mr. Ash, mounts Princess Lady's seven-grand hide, Angela has to race out of the office to break up the party. With the iPet, a light smack of the robo-arm, and your kitty-porn is PG in a flash.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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