The World’s First Smart Toilet for Dogs Has Arrived

Newtons Box
Newtons Box

If training your dog to use a human toilet hasn’t been going as smoothly as you’d hoped, there might be another option. For the price of $696, Inubox—which is being dubbed as the “world’s first smart toilet for dogs”—is now available for pre-order on Kickstarter. The toilet helps keep your pup's bladder and kidneys healthy by letting them relieve themselves whenever duty calls, rather than waiting for you to get home, as New Atlas reports.

The device—which comes from the Austin, Texas-based company Newtons Box—might not make much sense to remote workers or stay-at-home moms and dads, but it’s a game-changer for dog parents who log a lot of hours at their workplace. Instead of holding their bladders for hours or leaving a pile of poop on your kitchen floor, dogs can do their business in the Inubox. When its sensors detect waste on the platform, the device scoops it into an eco-friendly bag and releases air freshener to keep your home smelling clean.

Of course, you’ll have to train your dog to use it first. According to the company, Inubox’s “attractive scent” is designed to lure dogs onto the platform so that they’ll mark their spot. It also uses positive reinforcement and releases a treat each time your dog uses it. Additional training methods may be needed, though, depending on your dog’s personality and behavior.

The design is also discreet. When the platform is lifted up to close the Inubox, no one will be able to tell that it’s a toilet. It almost looks like the kind of futuristic decor you might find in the Jetsons’s home (which, depending on your aesthetic sensibilities, could be another selling point).

The Inubox toilet
Newtons Box

The device is designed for dogs, but similar “smart toilets” have been made for cats, too. The Pet Care Monitor, for example, measures your cat’s weight and urine volume to make sure your fur baby is happy and healthy.

[h/t New Atlas]

No Venom, No Problem: This Spider Uses a Slingshot to Catch Prey

Courtesy of Sarah Han
Courtesy of Sarah Han

There are thousands of ways nature can kill, and spider species often come up with the most creative methods of execution. Hyptiotes cavatus, otherwise known as the triangle weaver spider, is one such example. Lacking venom, the spider manages to weaponize its silk, using it to hurl itself forward like a terrifying slingshot to trap its prey.

This unusual method was studied up close for a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers at the University of Akron in Ohio. They say it's the only known instance of an animal using an external device—its web—for power amplification.

Hyptiotes cavatus's technique is simple. After constructing a web, the spider takes one of the main strands and breaks it in half, pulling it taut by moving backwards. Then, it anchors itself to a spot with more webbing in the rear. When the spider releases that webbing, it surges forward, propelled by the sudden release of stored energy. In the slingshot analogy, the webbing is the strap and the spider is the projectile.

This jerking motion causes the web to oscillate, tangling the spider's prey further in silk. The spider can repeat this until the web has completely immobilized its prey, a low-risk entrapment that doesn’t require the spider to get too close and risk injury from larger victims.

The triangle weaver spider doesn’t have venom, and it needs to be proactive in attacking and stifling prey. Once a potential meal lands in its web, it’s able to clear distances much more quickly using this slingshot technique than if it crawled over. In the lab, scientists clocked the spider’s acceleration at 2535 feet per second squared.

Spiders are notoriously nimble and devious. Cebrennus rechenbergi, or the flic-flac spider, can do cartwheels to spin out of danger; Myrmarachne resemble ants and even wiggle their front legs like ant antennae. It helps them avoid predators, but if they see a meal, they’ll drop the act and pounce. With H. cavatus, it now appears they’re learning to use tools, too.

[h/t Live Science]

Plano, Texas Is Home to a Dog-Friendly Movie Theater That Serves Bottomless Wine or Whiskey

K9 Cinemas
K9 Cinemas

For dog owners in Plano, Texas, movie night with Fido no longer just means cuddling on the couch and browsing Netflix. The recently opened K9 Cinemas invites moviegoers—both human and canine—to watch classic films on the big screen. And the best part for the human members of this couple? Your $15 ticket includes bottomless wine or whiskey (or soft drinks if you're under 21).

The theater operates as a pop-up (or perhaps pup-up?) in a private event space near Custer Road and 15th Street in Plano. Snacks—both the pet and people kind—are available for $2 apiece. Dogs are limited to two per person, and just 25 human seats are sold per showing to leave room for the furry guests.

Pet owners are asked follow a few rules in order to take advantage of what the theater has to offer. Dogs must be up-to-date on all their shots, and owners can submit veterinary records online or bring a hard copy to the theater to verify their pooch's health status. Once inside, owners are responsible for taking their dog out for potty breaks and cleaning up after any accidents that happen (thankfully the floors are concrete and easy to wipe down).

While many of the movies shown are canine-themed—a recent screening of A Dog's Journey included branded bandanas with every ticket purchase—they also hold special events, like a Game of Thrones finale watch party (no word on how the puppers in attendance responded to Jon Snow finally acknowledging what a good boy Ghost is).

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