People interested in the interaction between cats and, say, iPads are well served on the internet, including YouTube where the search terms ‘cats ipad’ brings up ‘about 221,000 results’.
Cats have been recorded enthusiastically ‘playing’ games originally intended for people on tablet devices, but there are also games specifically designed for cats (“ipad games for cats” brings up around 21 million suggestions on Google).
Here’s a beautiful Bengal cat playing ‘Friskies’, a fish-catching app, (spoiler: the cat wins) on an iPad – impressively it also seems to know how to start the game.
Some HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) researchers are turning their attentions to ACI (Animal-Computer Interaction) for more serious purposes.
“An increasing body of work originating from within the HCI community is shaping an emerging discipline, which – by analogy with HCI – has been dubbed Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI) and comprises: studying the interaction between animals, technology and humans in naturalistic settings; developing user-centered technology that supports animals and interspecies relationships; informing user-centered approaches to the design of technology intended for animals.”
The Animal-Computer Interaction workshop “ACI 2014: Pushing Boundaries Beyond ‘Human’” is affiliated with the NordiCHI conference in Helsinki later this year (26-30 October 2014) and is calling for workshop participants.
“While traditionally animal technology has been the concern of other disciplines, more recently the HCI community has begun to take a keen interest in computer interactions involving animals, particularly in the context of human-animal interactions, concomitantly with a growing market of various types of digital technologies aimed at animals and their humans.”
An example of this might be a disability assistance dog helping a person use a domestic appliance.
The workshop aims to explore a range of themes relating to accessibility (making technology animal-friendly), methodology (how best to design with animals (and humans) in mind), ethics (animals in research) and politics (developing a community of ACI researchers to drive research in this area). You can find out more about the workshop and the conference by clicking the links above, or on their fantastic logos.