When you pull out a laser pointer and get your cat to chase the dot of light around your house*, you are using a patented method of cat exercise. The rights are owned by Kevin Amiss and Martin Abbott (both of Virginia), who patented it in the early 1990s. In the abstract, they describe this method of cat exercise as:
A method for inducing cats to exercise consists of directing a beam of invisible light produced by a hand-held laser apparatus onto the floor or wall or other opaque surface in the vicinity of the cat, then moving the laser so as to cause the bright pattern of light to move in an irregular way fascinating to cats, and to any other animal with a chase instinct.
In other words, they own the rights on doing this with ferrets, as well.
This might also be a good time to note an NPR story from this week, which documents IBM and Halliburton attempting to patent the process of patent trolling.
Method of exercising a cat: United States Patent 5443036
*Fact: This game becomes more fun if you have a rug. Just run the light up to the edge of the rug and then turn it off. The cat will become convinced that the little red light has gone under said rug and you will get to amuse yourself watching your cat try to lift the corner of something heavy without the use of opposable thumbs.
Thanks, Sam Ley!
Image: Gotcha!, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from drregor's photostream
Forthcoming game No Mans Sky promises players the experience of exploring a nigh-infinite universe of beautiful, dreamlike worlds. But its fans are far from serene. When a journalist reported a development delay, he was sent death threats–a black hole of rage that expanded to the game’s creators when they confirmed the news.
The Guardian featured essays by UK punks who made the scene when it first emerged in the late 1970s. Above, Terry Chimes, 59, original drummer for The Clash, now a chiropractor. “I just wanted to be in a band, and this was the most exciting band I could find,” he writes. “Everyone else in The […]
Read Elspeth Reeve’s fabulous article about Pizza, one of the most popular Tumblogs, the “secret lives” of Tumblr Teens, and mistakes made. It has everything. The wonderful creativity of the users; its incomprehensible architecture; the emergent support mechanisms; the toxic call-out culture; and everything ultimately, inevitably being ruined after Yahoo buys it. Then it happened. […]
Experienced shutterbugs with DSLR cameras have boatloads of lens options for capturing the moment. Unfortunately, smartphone photographers often get stuck with their one crummy lens, which means limited zoom and focus for their final image.Step up your smartphone’s photographic power with the Acesori 5-Piece Smartphone Camera Lens Kit, now just $9.99 in the Boing Boing Store.Magnetic rings easily […]
Some truths are universal. For one, your phone will always run out of power when you most need it. For another, the charging cords that come packaged with your Apple device will fray, split, and rip faster than Usain Bolt in a game of tag.Instead, pick up a charging cord that anyone would have a tough […]
Some people say magic tricks are nerdy and best left to your 12-year-old asthmatic cousin. But others see value in perfecting the slight of hand and showmanship associated with a perfectly executed routine. We’re firmly in the latter camp. And now, we’re giving you the ability to put a few parlor tricks up your sleeve with the Penguin […]