I know that we’re living in a time where so much of the news is hard to believe, and even harder to predict.
But this one is off the charts: researchers have proven that pigs can be trained to play video games.
Purdue University professor Dr. Candace Croney and her colleagues presented four pigs (and I have to tell you that one of them was named Hamlet!) with a video game in which the player uses a joystick to move a cursor toward four target walls.
Video game controllers aren’t particularly geared toward pig hooves, but all four animals were able to use the controller and operate the game at a rate that was better than what might happen at random, meaning that they could understand what the goal of the game was, that the joystick controlled what was on the screen, and how to make the joystick do what the game required.
The goal here was to learn more about how pigs acquire and process information to solve problems.
It wasn’t intended to make the case for coders to think up a new line of video games for pigs, although it would be pretty wild and highly ironic if somebody made a pig-focused edition of Angry Birds.
And somebody definitely needs to do a digital port of that old dice game Pig Mania right away…
A lot of us these days are feeling a little short on hugs – that’s for safety, of course, but for most of us hugs have real health benefits.
That’s why things like weighted blankets are so popular, they seem to create the same physical reaction we get from touch.
Now there’s another option: HuggieBot 2.0, a robot that gives hugs on request.
And it’s not even controlled by a video game-playing pig!
Pigs show potential for ‘remarkable’ level of behavioral, mental flexibility in new study (Frontiers Science News)
Soft, Human-Sized Robot Gives Excellent Hugs (Interesting Engineering)