The Robotic Litter Box Makes for Hearty Consumerism

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robotic_litter_box
Om nom nom nom!

Cat technology has never been this revolutionary (terrible, terrible pun… just read on) since the advent of the laser pointer and, before then, bubbles.  Litter-Robot Inc. has for sale an automatic, self-cleaning litter box.  This triumph of engineering, ingenuity and laziness is certain to make any cat-lover give up the scoop once and for all.

The litter box works by first sensing when the cat is in the box with a weight sensor.  Once the cat leaves, a timer is activated that allows seven minutes before the automatic pooper-scooper does its duties.  The globe rotates and a screen is used to take out all of the clumps.  The offending remnants are then gravity fed into the disposal tray at the bottom of the unit.  In order to ensure feline safety, there is a cat detection system that causes the globe to stop moving upon re-entry.

It seems that technology has really entered every facet of daily living.  Such technology is present in the home for convenience, allowing the user to free time to pursue other worldly activities and, although many might look at inventions such as these as mass-produced enablers of laziness, those worldly activities may benefit others.  There is no sense in denying a self-cleaning litter box to the person who would otherwise be spending that scooping time devising the cure for cancer.  Sure, not everybody will use his or her new free time productively, but it still is quite the convenience.  Even if there are a few nagging design flaws.

The folks at Litter-Robot seem to take into account the fact that cats are almost as reluctant to adopt technology as the average grandparent.  In that event, they offer such sage words of advice as “cats that are skittish, very nervous or easily scared are probably not good candidates for the Litter-Robot™” and “if your cat protests by urinating somewhere outside the litter box, there is no reason to continue the ‘cold turkey’ approach.”  Well then, how is it possible to get that loveable, furry creature inside such a menacing apparatus?  Litter-Robot recommends placing the box (in which the device came) over the litter box itself, with a hole cut in it for easy entry.  The rationale being that cats love to play with boxes, so they might not mind the scary, rotating, poop-eating monster that lies within.

Apparently, odd knick-knacks aimed at cat-lovers are not a new phenomenon.  Before the days of the Internet, when crazy crap had to be bought of off the television, Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame) was there to sell the Katsak (don’t miss the video at the end).  So what makes this mechanized turd-gobbler worthy of a mention here at Singularity Hub?  Well, it is still a robot in the home.  The robotic litter box is currently for sale, albeit for 320 of your hard-earned dollars, and it’s just another way that previously analog systems are becoming digital.  Don’t be fooled, this litter box won’t be saving any lives but it is certainly a useful tool for those who do not enjoy scatology.

Andrew is a recent graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, MA with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. While at Northeastern, he worked on a Department of Defense project intended to create a product that adsorbs and destroys toxic nerve agents and also worked as part of a consulting firm in the fields of battery technology, corrosion analysis, vehicle rollover analysis, and...

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