Tag Archives: pet

Pet Cloning – Cute or Creepy?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I believe we’ve all heard about first-ever cloned mammal: Dolly the sheep and the controversy it generated back in the day. Less than a decade later, a Californian company by the name of “Genetic Savings and Clone” was already offering commercial cloning services for peoples’ deceased pets, an extravagant endeavor with a price tag to match. So if you’ve recently lost a beloved pet (mainly a cat or a dog) and have around 50,000$ (per attempt) to spare; this might be the article for you.

Pet cloning is nowadays more readily available and cheaper than ever and naturally, a number of celebrities started taking advantages of those services including Barbara Streisand and her two clones of her late dog Samantha and Simon Cowell who is spending a whopping 180,000£ on pet cloning so he never has to live a day without his Yorkshire terriers by his side.


This unusual procedure basically consists of an embryo being cultivated from the cell of the animal (particularly cells from its mouth and stomach), before being implanted into the surrogate mother’s uterus. Each attempt takes about two months and this process is not fool-proof. It’s actually estimated to be successful about a third of the time, which makes the price tag all the more unsettling. It also comes with some negative side effects which are the main reason some people might consider pet cloning inhumane. According to Alan Beck, an animal ecology professor at Purdue University:

“All cloned animals have shorter life spans and many more health problems than non-cloned animals. Many, many animals are used [in the cloning process]. So you have this big population of unrecognized industry of a dog population that are surgically manipulated and kept in cages, like any kind of commercial or research area, but it’s not inspected and there’s no guarantee they’re well taken care of.”

Another side effect that seems to be the most bothersome to people who go through getting their pets cloned is that the clone, although it’s a carbon copy of the original, is not guaranteed to behave the same way or have the same memories. Which is why a Chinese company, the Sinogene Biotechnology Company, is considering taking this procedure a step further and using artificial intelligence to transfer the memories of a pet to its clone.  According to Sinogene’s general manager: “To make the cloned animal share the same memories with the original, the company is considering the use of artificial intelligence or man-machine interface technology to store them or even pass the memories to cloned animals.”

Only time can tell whether or not that is a realistically possible endeavor, but it’s a definite sign that the market for pet clones is set to expand significantly. This is outrageous in my opinion, considering how many people are willing to spend so much money and resources on recreating their dead pets while equally loveable and very much still alive pets waste away in shelters.

This also makes human cloning seem somewhat more plausible, which raises a whole other set of ethical dilemmas that I believe humanity is not ready to face yet.






Tagged , ,

QOOBO – the heart healing pillow

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Have you ever heard “No!” from your parents when asking for a pet? Are you having a busy life and cannot afford spending enough time with a pet? Do you feel lonely in your apartment with no fluffy tale? Qoobo can be a solution for you.

According to Engadget, at CEATEC, the Japanese company called “Yukai Engineering” unveiled its latest wacky product, the Qoobo “tail therapy” robot. This is essentially a cushion with a realistic cat tail that reacts to stroking and patting, such that it’s able to comfort its “owner” like a real pet would simply through tail wagging.

According to creators of Qoobo, it is a robotic pillow with a tail intended to provide a sense of comfort to users.  When caressed, it waves gently. When rubbed, it swings playfully. And, it occasionally wags just to say hello. Qoobo was designed for communication that warms your heart the way animals do. “Through trial and error, we developed a mechanism that closely mimics the flexible and elegant movements of an animal. We selected different materials for various parts of the robot to enhance the movements and the tail’s appearance. We also made it durable to allow for use in various environments” – say Yukai Engineering.







The story of Qoobo is very ordinary: the idea of the pillow originates from one of Yukai Engineering’s employees. The designer had a cat, but since the apartment she moved into didn’t allow pets, she had to leave her cat with her parents. This inspired her to come up with a lifelike pet substitute that would make her feel better whenever she thought of her cat.

According to The Verge, Qoobo is expected to cost around $100 when it launches in June 2018. Like with its adorable Bocco robot that was delivered with Kickstarter, the company is hoping to launch Qoobo with the help of a crowdfunding platform too. It’ll have an eight-hour battery life with USB charging, and will come in two colors: Husky gray and French brown.

Now you can back Qoobo at the page of the project at Kickstarter platform, and starting from $83 you can order a pillow and expect the delivery by June 2018.

People, who have already “touched” Qoobo say, that they were surprised by how realistic the tail moved, especially with how its wagging intensity increased as they petted it harder. Interestingly, the stroking detection is mostly done with just one accelerometer inside the body, according to CEO Shunsuke Aoki. He added that despite the cat-like appearance, the realistic tail movement is actually based on research on both cat and dog behavior.

Being a former dog owner, I must say, that I hardly imagine how a pillow can replace a real pet. But it looks like robots never die, unlike our pets…







Tagged ,