This Rolling Smart Robot Will Keep Your Cat Company and Help It Exercise, Even When You’re Not Home

Ebo
Ebo

As any true ailurophile knows, cats love to sleep. On average, kitties spend anywhere from 16 to 20 hours of each day napping. But that laziness we often find so charming can sometimes lead to obesity, which can cause some pretty serious health problems for your feline friend. So how do you make sure your cat stays happy and healthy, even when you’re not home? That’s where Ebo comes (or rolls) in.

Ebo is a smart robot designed to keep your cat company and provide them with some much-needed stimulation, especially when you're not around. With more than $90,000 in pledges raised already, Ebo crushed its original $5110 Kickstarter goal, but you can still back the project here, with pledge tiers that start at $159 for a standard EBO and a smart collar that tracks your cat’s activity levels.

The Ebo itself, which is just over two inches tall, connects to Wi-Fi and features an app that allows you to schedule when you want it to start and stop playing with your cat.

When it’s playtime, the tiny robot scans the room to ensure there’s enough space to play safely. Once it makes sure the coast is clear, the robot moves on its own, utilizing an ergonomic design that enables it to wheel in any direction, spin, roll over, or even dance. You also don’t need to worry about keeping your cat’s robot friend charged. If your Ebo happens to be running low on battery, it rolls itself back to its charging station until it’s ready to go again.

According to the designers, Ebo interacts with cats in a way your feline friend understands—through a mix of sound, movement, and light that is always unpredictable. You can even play with your cat through the Ebo with its built-in laser.

The app also allows you to monitor your cat through video. And if they do something cute—as they always do—you can easily snap a photo or shoot a video, edit it, add fun filters, and then share it with others.

The device’s smart collar can be used for up to 30 days on a single charge. Should it get stuck, there’s a safety mode in which it will be released automatically to prevent accidental choking.

If you want an upgrade, there's the Ebo Pro (starting at $199), which features an AI algorithm that analyzes your cat’s mood and motion and adapts for future play.

No matter which Ebo you choose, they all come full of accessories, including decorative soldier, bamboo, onion, or feather caps. And if you order in time, you can snag a model decked out in a Santa hat.

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8 New Skills You Can Learn at Home

Ridofranz/ iStock via Getty Images Plus
Ridofranz/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

Whether you're looking to give your career a boost or simply want to enrich your life a bit, the easiest place to start is by learning a new skill. And with the recent boom in online courses, it's never been easier to add a new line to your resume without even leaving your home. Check out these convenient courses you can take from Rosetta Stone, Udemy, Coursera, and edX.

1. The Science of Well-Being; $49/month

Taught by Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos, this course is all about building up productive habits that can lead to positive changes in life, while pointing out the self-sabotaging thoughts that can sometimes get in the way. By learning about the science behind how we perceive happiness and our own well-being, this course aims to build a better, more informed mindset to help you reach your goals. The individual courses are technically free, but if you want a certificate at the end, you'll have to pay for Coursera's $49-per-month plan.

Buy it: Coursera

2. Writing Short Stories: The Essential Guide; $19-$95

Writing a short story is about more than just coming up with a plot and some characters—if you want to sell it, you need to understand the literary marketplace and how to properly pitch to an editor. The on-demand videos and downloadable resources offered by this course guide you through writing fundamentals like tone, tense, and proper endings, as well as the realities of the business, such as payments and, perhaps most importantly, dealing with rejection.

Buy it: Udemy

3. Complete Guitar System: Beginner to Advanced; $30-$200

This course is led by Erich Andreas, who has over 30 years of experience teaching guitar lessons. The class features over 300 lectures, 34 hours of video, and over 100 downloadable resources to help you learn step-by-step methods for mastering chords, songs, scales, and much more.

Buy it: Udemy

4. Introduction to Python Programming; $396

Python is one of the world's most widely used computer programming languages, and this self-paced certification will teach the basics with no experience required. Estimated to take about five months, these classes cover the fundamentals of the Python world, like code writing and revisions. As the classes grow more complex, you'll learn about advanced control structures, data structures, and algorithms. It's the most intense certificate on this list, but with the robust job market available to computer programmers, these skills may prove to be invaluable.

Buy it: edX

5. Learn a New Language; $79-$300

Rosetta Stone's language-learning software allows you to take classes in Spanish, German, Italian, and plenty more, on your own time and on whatever device you want. With interactive exercises, games, and stories to read, this is a great way to take language classes while still keeping your busy work and social schedule intact. The cost varies based on your subscription preference, and you can check out the updated pricing options here.

Buy it: Rosetta Stone

6. Introduction to Self-Determination Theory; $49/month

Like anything else, self-determination is a skill that you can learn and perfect with the right practice. This course will go into the science of motivation and psychological development and explore how both of those aspects are influenced by those around you. From there, you’ll learn how to practically apply self-determination to your education, work, and much more.

Buy it: Coursera

7. G Suite Administrator Fundamentals; $49/month

Google's cloud technology and digital services are becoming a vital tool in business, and with this course, you'll learn how to manage the complete offerings of the company's G Suite, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive, and more. But you'll learn more than just how to use each one; this certificate is all about becoming a G Suite administrator for large groups. So you'll learn how to create and delete accounts on custom domains, how to manage those accounts, how to spot potential security breaches, and the best way to use all of these tools for your particular business or project. The course itself is offered by Google, and you can take it at your own pace on whatever device you wish. With four classes total, as well as a hands-on project, the G Suite Administrator Fundamentals certificate should take around a month or so to complete.

Buy it: Coursera

8. Essential Cooking Skills; $19-$45

Cooking at home helps save money and can lead to better nutritional choices, but first, you'll need the right set of skills. In this series of courses, you'll get instructions on culinary foundations, like blanching vegetables, making stock, perfecting an omelet, and more. Once you've built up this body of basic knowledge, you can combine it all to give your homemade dinners a bit more flair.

Buy it: Udemy

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

This Card Game Lets You Bring The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest to Your Living Room

What Do You Meme/Amazon
What Do You Meme/Amazon

Each week, The New Yorker releases a cartoon without a caption and calls on readers to submit their ideas. If you’re looking to hone your skills for your next entry, or you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to judge a competition, you can do both in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Game. It’s available now on Amazon for $30.

The game is suitable for three to 20-plus players. To start, the oldest player draws three cartoon cards from the deck of 200 and picks their favorite one. They then place the card on the included easel, covering the actual caption. The players write and hand in their best ideas, and the judge reads them out loud to decide the winner. A new judge will take over at the beginning of the next round, so it won't just be one sense of humor dominating the game.

The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Game on Amazon.
What Do You Meme?/Amazon

Made by the same company that created What Do You Meme ($30), the game can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. Along with the easel and 200 cartoon cards, a complete set comes with 300 pieces of paper to write on, instructions, and six pencils.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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