Expect a lot more emails if a new device gets the funding it needs to be launched.
Those emails will be from your dog.
Billed as “The World’s First Petcam That Lets Your Pet Send You a Selfie Automatically” in an IndieGoGo campaign started today, the PetBot allows dogs (and cats, and rabbits) who are home alone to interact with their pet parents.
“When I’m not at home, I really wonder what my dog is doing,” Misko Dzamba, co-founder of the Toronto-based PetBot, says in a video on the IndieGoGo page. “Is he grooming himself? Is he defending the house against the mailman? I don’t know. PetBot was created to help me keep an eye on my dog.”
Here’s how it works: At scheduled times or when the PetBot camera detects your dog in its view field, a sound is played (such as your own soothing voice). When your dog approaches the camera, it starts recording a 10-second video or snaps a “selfie,” and then dispenses a treat. (You can limit the number of treats distributed each day in case your dog is a camera hog — er, hound.) The video or selfie is then sent to your phone.
The PetBot can also record live, streaming video. Another of its features is bark recognition, to “help reduce separation anxiety through the pet’s barking patterns,” according to the IndieGoGo page.
“It’s definitely reassuring, because we know if [our dog] is doing well,” says a customer named Adrian in a video testimonial. “If anything’s bothering her, she’ll make a noise and we’ll be able to check up on her.”
Co-founder Jason Yu told TNW News, “PetBot is the very first smart pet device that allows your pet to contact you. We’ve invented pet recognition — a brand new thing. It leverages ‘petificial’ intelligence — AI that can recognize the face of your pet, take a selfie and send the owners a short clip of their pet when they have to be away.”
Yu and the other PetBot developers have “years of pet training, pet care and technical experience including the development of machine learning and artificial intelligence that have been used to test the effectiveness of drugs on cancer,” according to the IndieGoGo page.
The PetBot may also help make homeless pets more adoptable by helping to calm anxious dogs and socialize shy cats, Yu told TNW News. It can intermittently play soothing nature sounds, such as wind and chirping birds, to “simulate a natural and relaxing environment for the cats and dogs after hours when the shelter is closed.” Prototypes are currently being tested in some animal shelters and rescues in Canada.
The developers have set a contribution goal of $80,000 in 45 days to launch the PetBot. During the first seven hours of the campaign today, over $5,200 has been contributed, so it looks like the goal will likely be met.
If that’s the case, the PetBot will be available early next year and sell for around $200.
To make a contribution to launch the PetBot, click here.
Photos via IndieGoGo.com