SparkNotes Blog

The 7 Cutest Uses of Technology

Technology gets a bad rap and I’m tiiiired of it. The world is always “Hey, why did you invent a talking spaceship death machine?”;  “Hey, thanks to antibiotics your superbug killed Gwyneth Paltrow“; and “Hey, can you please go back in time an UNMAKE THAT LIQUID METAL ROBOT NIGHTMARE PLS?” No one ever focuses on the times our technological prowess has been used for the forces of cute. Take these 7 adorable apps and hacks… (SQUEE CAPS ON)

Confuse-a-Cat 2.0

You feed your cat human food, and let your cat dress as Darth Vader, why not let your feline bestie enjoy the fruits of Apple technology? The creatively named iPad Game for Cats wiggles a mouse around the screen, encouraging them to slap, claw, and jump on your $500 tablet, honing their predatorial death skills in the comfort of their cat castle.

Note: Though your cat may be confused by the bloodless nature of this hunt, there is nothing cuter than a confused cat.

There’s also an app to annoy lizards and frogs, though their confusion is distinctly less cute.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roomba

The Roomba is robot vacuum designed to scare the hell out of your cats. It did not take long, however, for cats to commandeer this feckless appliance in service of terrorizing dogs with a drive-by slap. This could be the tide-turning moment in the war between cats and dogs: The introduction of advanced weaponry into an ancient fray.

Bonus: If you allow yourself to fall into the YouTube vortex, you can find videos of the same cat in a shark costume chasing a duckling. Squeeee!

How Much is that Doggie in the Billboard?

Anytime you walk by a pet store or shelter that has dogs and cats in the window, you have to steel yourself against taking them all home and having a cuddle puddle with your new besties. Ogilvy & Mather UK created an ad campaign to target your giant, aching soft spot.

They handed out microchipped brochures about pet adoption to passersby. When the people passed by billboards run by the same campaign, they would change to display a shaggy dog eyeing them mournfully, following them around town, judging them so hard. So many billboards were adopted that day.

The Cat That Fed Itself

If you have a cat, chances are your furry housemate thinks your presentation skills at dinner could use some work. What, you’re just going to plonk food in a bowl and expect them to eat it off the floor? What is this, Chipotle?

Enter super-geek Ben Millam. He hides little plastic balls around his house that, when dropped into a ball-recognizing-food-dispenser (all the good names were taken), drop a meal of cat food. So his cat gets to keep his hunting instincts sharp, all while transferring his turbulent affections to a machine. And Ben gets to hide tiny balls around his house. Win-win.

Speak, Fido

Imagine you could read your dog’s mind. You could finally figure out what he is yelling at the lightning strikes (“LOKI GO BACK WHENCE YOU CAAAAME!”) and get an honest answer about what happened to your suede booties.

Actually, some Swedish researchers are literally looking into the brains of dogs. With a little plastic thing that looks like two or three airplane headphones stuck together, they hope to be able to convert the electrical impulses into complaints about Age of Ultron.


Those same Swedes that made the dog mind-reader thing made a flying carpet for dogs. Why a flying carpet for dogs? Probably just so they could see the bug-eyed expression on their face as the living room Persian rug rises under their feet and whisks them out of the house. Dogladdin: Because once your dog no longer fears your carpet, it is as good as peed on.


This clever machine has [fuzzy] face-detection technology and will dispense a treat to your pup when they line up in front of the camera for a selfie. The selfie is delivered to your cellphone when you’re out so you know your buddy is okay/Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

But when will they add a rainbow barf filter?