Better harassing through science: the Cat Attack toy

The Cat Attack: A little remote controlled mouse with skittish attachment keeps cats on their toes (shot on my iPhone, a bit of drumming by the Greenpoint Marching Band in Hudson, 2010)


Let's face it: it's generally more fun to watch a white elephant gift exchange than a traditional Christmas gift opening. Same ole, same ole, given and received with gracious grimaces - sox, books, TJ Maxx gloves, scarves (OK I was guilty of gifting a few from my recent Peru video shoot), tins of mass produced shortbread butter cookies ... oh wouldn't I kill to see someone gift a black velvet flocked painting to a serious art lover!

But this year, after teaching a Christmas Day yoga class, I was generously invited by a student to a wonderful gathering and saw a particularly fresh stocking stuffer:




It's called a CAT ATTACK: a remote-controlled toy with convincingly twitchy, skittish mousey moves. Three laser-pointer-blasĂ© cats - a tuxedo, a tortoiseshell and a calico - were mesmerized by this gadget. Staring in disbelief, they stalked it from a few whisker-lengths distance, backing off and darting behind boxes when it swung around for a swipe.

Yes, as if twitching and nose-butting the cat wasn't enough, the gadget features a Chaos Wand - a neurotic pom-pom on a spring that's whacked around asynchronously like a fly swatter.

As you can see, the tortoiseshell eventually bit the pom-pom and stalled the action until it let go.


Best of all, it kept the only child in the room utterly transfixed (for a while) as she controlled the remote like an expert crane driver. Uh, except when she drove it over the rug fringe, where the spinning wheels sucked up the cords. It was like trying to unravel a reel of dental floss sucked up in a bicycle chain (not that the two would ever get that close.)

The unpredictable moves make the toy very interesting to watch, and apparently it's a product of applied chaos theory. It utilizes "algorithmns based on six-dimensional coupled nzmap system modeled on the neural network of a real mouse." I include the full and fascinating thesis at the bottom of this post.

OK, the fluffy booties were the second best stocking stuffer

How fun would it be to work for a company that makes this kind of thing!  Applying your PhD in Robotics and bringing the prototype to the boardroom table for progress presentations ... I use to wonder what the boardroom meetings of adult toy industry would be like:  Powerpoint presentations of penile enhancers, battery life charts of buzzing day-glow suppositories ... you get my drift. As we know, everything gets old, hence the relentless onslaught of new tchotchkes. Like this Tengu toy my beau discovered in MOMA, which I filmed lip-synching a classic Rowan Atkinson skit:


 Read on for a holiday applied science fix - it's what happened when NASA met Kitty!

Cat Attack Remote Control Cat Exerciser
As much fun for people as for cats, the Cat Attack is the world's first remote control cat exercises featuring the Chaos Wand, based on chaos technology, to keep your cat wildly entertained for hours on end. You drive the Cat Attack and it drives your cat crazy! The Cat Attack uses the latest research in chaos theory and complex systems to emulate the movements and personality of a cat's favorite prey. This "virtual mouse" technology utilizes algorithmns based on six-dimensional coupled nzmap system modeled on the neural network of a real mouse. What that all means is that the Cat Attack's "virtual mouse" will become your cat's new best friend! This product is based on Capsuled Chaos TM technology by ChAotic Toy Factory, ltd. (from http://www.felinefanatics.com/cat_toys.htm)

Have a happy cat-harrassing 2012!

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