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This Clever Feeding System Lets Indoor Cats 'Hunt' for Their Food

Inside every lazy indoor cat beats the heart of a hunter. That’s why Liz Bales, a Philadelphia-based veterinarian, created the NoBowl Feeding System, the Daily Mail reports. Instead of feeding your kitty with a bowl, the NoBowl comes with five rodent-shaped pods that you fill with dry food and hide around your house. That way, your cat can hone its natural mousing instincts—and get a workout in the process.

Bales invented the NoBowl because “in my practice, so many of the most common problems that I see in cats are born of wellness and lifestyle issues,” she told the Daily Mail. “Cats become obese, lazy, anxious and even destructive or sick in the absence of the ability to hunt and interact with their food.”

To find a solution, Bales consulted with feline veterinarians, nutritionists, and behaviorists. She then collaborated with a team of inventors and designers, who helped Bales create the NoBowl's rodent capsules—tiny, egg-shaped food trays, covered in removable mice “skins.”

The rodent capsules are equal part toy and meal dispenser, Bales says. Once a kitty discovers a food-filled mouse, they can eat the meal inside—or have a little fun with the fuzzy animal.

“The NoBowl Feeding System is designed with a soft skin to simulate its prey. Cats love to pick it up and use their claws to enhance the experience,” the NoBowl System’s website states. “Its shape is designed to roll and move in the way a mouse or bird would. Cats are exhilarated without being scared by an unpredictable movement.”

After more than 20 years of research and testing, the NoBowl is currently in production and available for pre-order, thanks to successful fundraisers on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. You can order the NoBowl online, starting at $38, or visit the system’s website for more information.

[h/t Daily Mail]

Banner image courtesy of NoBowl.

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technology
This High-Tech Material Can Change Shape Like an Octopus
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Octopuses can do some pretty amazing things with their skin, like “see” light, resist the pull of their own sticky suction cups, and blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. That last part now has the U.S. Army interested, as Co.Design reports. The military branch’s research office has funded the development a new type of morphing material that works like an octopus’s dynamic skin.

The skin of an octopus is covered in small, muscular bumps called papillae that allow them to change textures in a fraction of a second. Using this mechanism, octopuses can mimic coral, rocks, and even other animals. The new government-funded research—conducted by scientists at Cornell University—produced a device that works using a similar principle.

“Technologies that use stretchable materials are increasingly important, yet we are unable to control how they stretch with much more sophistication than inflating balloons,” the scientists write in their study, recently published in the journal Science. “Nature, however, demonstrates remarkable control of stretchable surfaces.”

The membrane of the stretchy, silicone material lays flat most of the time, but when it’s inflated with air, it can morph to form almost any 3D shape. So far, the technology has been used to imitate rocks and plants.

You can see the synthetic skin transform from a two-dimensional pad to 3D models of objects in the video below:

It’s easy to see how this feature could be used in military gear. A soldier’s suit made from material like this could theoretically provide custom camouflage for any environment in an instant. Like a lot of military technology, it could also be useful in civilian life down the road. Co.Design writer Jesus Diaz brings up examples like buttons that appear on a car's dashboard only when you need them, or a mixing bowl that rises from the surface of the kitchen counter while you're cooking.

Even if we can mimic the camouflage capabilities of cephalopods, though, other impressive superpowers, like controlling thousands of powerful suction cups or squeezing through spaces the size of a cherry tomato, are still the sole domain of the octopus. For now.

[h/t Co.Design]

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Animals
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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