With tens of thousands of apps currently available for the iPad and iPhone, there is certainly no shortage of distractions to keep us smartphone-wielding humans entertained — but as it turns out, we’re not the only ones who could benefit from bit of beguilement. That said, in hopes of staving off boredom in human and swine alike, a team of Dutch designers have created Pig Chase — an app for interspecies entertainment that playfully pits iPad users against real-life pigs, who might otherwise only meet one another on a plate.
Since 2001, law has required pig farmers in the European Union to provide some form of entertainment to their livestock as a way of keeping them in good emotional health, which in turn helps curb aggression and anxiety. Often, toys and other materials are placed inside the sties for animals to interact with, but perhaps unsurprisingly, some farmers have found it quite difficult to turn their pigpens into playpens.
With that in mind, designers from Utrecht School of the Arts and Wageningen University in the Netherlands ventured to create new ways to make swine swoon — resulting in a project called Playing with Pigs. But with a shortage of literature on entertaining pigs, developers soon found themselves experts in the field.
“During the design process we discovered something that, to our knowledge at the time, animal scientists had not noticed until now: pigs like to play with light. For example, pigs are fascinated by the movement of reflected points of light, and are attracted to new light spots on a surface,” the project’s web site states.
That’s when the idea for Pig Chase dawned on them as a means to bring a bit of joy to animals on the farm, all while forging a “new relationship between pigs and humans.”