We never seem to tire of new technology. It flows into our lives, sometimes providing solutions to problems we were very aware we had and, more often than not, creating solutions to problems we never knew we had. Over the past few months, as people from across the internet continue to fight pandemic fatigue, we’ve uncovered many blog posts devoted to emerging tech like electric pets, robot taskrabbits, and high-tech health aids. We’ve assembled a few of the best of each here.

For Real and Unreal Pets: Lauren Wadowsky at the Gadget Flow blog: lists a number of new technologies from 2020, and three of them are strongly associated with pets. There’s a very attentive and proactive cat litter box—a “smart cat toilet,” one might say—that the Consumer Electronics Show bestowed an innovation award on, and it has “…built-in stool and urine image recognition” and “excretory behavioral algorithms.” And for those who would like to invent new pets rather than rummage through the leavings of established ones, there’s “the Petit Qoobo Tailed Cushion Robot,” a headless android pet designed to comfort people (like folks in nursing homes) who can’t keep an actual pet. And then there’s an adorable rolling ball robot (think of a “tennis ball that follows you around.”). This delightful (or irritatingly cute) ball doesn’t just adorably follow you, it also serves as a calendar, a to-do list, even a remote control for your IoT (internet of things) devices. It also has a built in camera and can thus serve as a security guard for your domicile.

We’re Taking Care of You: More recently (April 2021), Adrian Willings of Pocket-lint.com made a rather long and ubiquitously impressive list of new gadgets, the most interesting of which were devoted to safety and survival. Willings discusses a sonic fire extinguisher, designed in 2017 by researchers at George Mason University. The device uses sound waves to extinguish fires, and appears to work. The implications of not needing to use as much water to put out a fire are substantial. Then there is an edible aid drone, which can be used for disaster relief, lost parties, and the like. Named Pouncer, its wings are stuffed with food and its frame and skin can be used for firewood and tent shelter. Finally, Singapore is experimenting with roads made not only of gravel and concrete but also of “non-toxic UV absorbing minerals” that absorb light to enable “a safe glow at night.” A glowing road can increase safety, for drivers, passengers and pedestrians. It’s a great idea; we knew someone was eventually going to develop it.

Do You Believe We Can Fly? And in January, Angela Moscaritolo of PC Mag covered the famous and influential Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and shared some favorites. Of those, one stands out in particular. Audaciously named “The Cadillac Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) vehicle,” it hauls humans one-at-a-time to wherever they need to go. In other words, it is a zero-emissions “air taxi service that generates zero emissions.” We’ve covered jetpacks in a past blog post and the VTOL vehicle comes close: it is a tiny one-person flying machine that “can carry [singular] passengers at up to 55 miles per hour.” However, taking a cue from the Gadget Flow list mentioned above, is the next logical step is to create a one-person flying drone with a sidecar for pets? Personally looking forward to future iterations with space for my furry friends.