Images credit Ashpoopie
I love our little Jasper, seriously I do. What I don't love is picking up his poop. (or my chewed up slippers or the ripped visa bill, but let's stick to poop). The AshPoopie to the rescue. It is a device that Amanda Kooser of CNET describes as "A new invention [that] promises to turn Fluffy's excrement into ashes."
It is described as the "hygienic green answer to disposing of your dog's mess," and was developed by Prof. Oded Shoseyov of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. But how does it work? On their website, they describe the process as follows:
Before walkies, simply insert a cartridge containing the special AshPoopie capsules into your handy AshPoopie wand. When your dog poos, just press a button on the device and the arm of the AshPoopie opens and extends over the poop. Press the second button and the poop is scooped up. A capsule is then released from the cartridge and mixes with the poop at high speed. In less than a minute, your dog's smelly mess has been transformed into odorless, harmless ash.
They don't go into any more detail than that, and Amanda at CNET describes it as "patented incinerating magic." Having some experience with incinerating toilets, I wondered how it could possibly work so quickly. And indeed, examination of US Patent 2010/0259055 explains:
Heat is generated by mixing the organic waste with sufficient amount of an oxidizing agent such as, but not limited to, potassium permanganate or any other safe oxidizing agent...a mixing device, (such as, but not limited to, a beater) electrically or manually operated, may be provided for mixing oxidizing agent with the feces.
And that is what we appear to have, a telescoping wand that scoops up the poop, mushes it up with blades and mixes in an oxidizing agent, reducing it to ash in less than a minute. Good old KMnO4 doesn't produce any toxic byproducts when it oxidizes, and in this case is being used to eliminate a pretty toxic byproduct of our puppies.
The Ashpoopie people call it clean and green; I find it hard to call this greener than sticking my hand in a biodegradable plastic bag and putting my hand around a pile of disgusting poop and carrying it a block back to a composting bin. But it is certainly better than leaving it. More at Ashpoopie, found at Geekologie
Jasper, described earlier.
More things that are just what we needed:
Just What We Needed Dept.: Electronic Gardening Kit
Just What We Needed Dept.: The Pyjamas Warming Pouch