The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is known for its annual unveiling of gadgets. While these products generally are made to facilitate human existence, in recent years there has been no shortage of electronics for pets as well. CES 2015 showcased a number of inventions, some with overlapping faculties, which promise to forever change the lives of pet owners. Many of these gadgets offer GPS pet-monitoring, but there were two products in particular that brought something new to the realm of pet tech.
Petcube received the lion’s share of the press coverage for new pet technology. It is a Wi-Fi connected box that allows people to play with pets remotely. It’s a 64 in3 aluminum cube with HD 720p video that can be accessed from anywhere. The app, compatible with Android and iOS, and has two main features which make it a game-changer for pet owners: first, the cube’s video camera offers a 138° degree wide angle can cover the most common areas where pets play and congregate. With the live feed, pet owners can not only see their pets, but with the two-way audio stream feature, they can communicate with them as well to discourage bad behavior or to keep them company throughout the day. The second interesting feature is an eye-safe laser-pointer which allows people to play with pets at any time. The remote connections are protected with a 128-bit encryption, and pet owners can decide who gets access to their Petcubes and ability to engage in play. Therefore, people can invite their friends and family to be digital companions for their pet when they’re away from home.
Petnet, another smart, high tech pet product to hit the CES 2015 floor, is an electronically controlled feeding system which pays thought not only to portion control, but to a pet’s nutrition as well. Its makers insist it is more than a food dispenser for several reasons: first, it allows owners to feed their pets remotely and adjust real-time feeding directly from the app. Second, some pets (e.g., labs) have problems with rapid eating which can lead to painful digestive problems. Feeding schedules can be spread out throughout the day to alleviate this problem. Third, the Petnet offers healthier food alternatives to let pet owners create a tailored feeding regimen. Fourth, notifications are sent directly to smart phones and laptops including feeding times, food inventory, battery life, and meal confirmations. Lastly, the product offers feeding insights to ensure that pets are receiving the right amount of food. Additionally, Petnet maintains a pet health blog for the latest news on nutrition, including pet food ingredients, weight loss, and feeding regimens.
Other Notable New Pet Technologies
The Petcube and the Petnet broke new ground with pet products. The remainder of the items released for animals at CES 2015 occupy a more competitive space with overlapping GPS and health-tracking features.
In the realm of GPS pet-tracking, Trackimo, a universal tracking device with global service, is now being marketed for pets this February or March. The first year of service with this $100 device is free. After that, a monthly fee is initiated. The StickR TrackR is a small device that works to keep track of a variety of objects, including keys, wallets, and now, pets. It’s sleeker than a lot of the trackers on the market and can be easily attached to even small cat collars to show where they’re hiding within a 100 foot radius. The Tagg GPS Plus not only keeps track of the location of pets, but it also senses the pet’s temperature and tracks fitness. It’s useful for people who want to make sure their dog-walkers are doing their jobs. It also can send push notifications to people’s phones when their pets wander outside of owner-designated areas. The Tractive 2, a slimmer model of the original product, tracks a pet’s location using Bluetooth for a monthly fee. It costs $179.
The Scout 5000 presents more than just another GPS tracking device. Co-developed by Motorola and the video-streaming service Hubble, this device operates like a GoPro for a dog. It allows owners to get a “dogs-eye view” of their pet’s activity which can be live-streamed to phones. It also offers communication features which allow pet owners to give commands or speak to their animals. The collar also detects barking and can notify pet owners when their pets are misbehaving. Additionally, it can track a dog’s weight and physical activity. There is a Scout 2500 model available for smaller dogs which doesn’t have the webcam capability, but offers the other features. The one downside to this product is that it requires a 3G service plan in order to access the functionalities of the Hubble app, available for Android and iOS.
At CES 2015, there were four other products which add something extra to the GPS capabilities in the realm of pet health. The $99 Whistle Activity Monitor markets itself as “a window into your dog’s day.” It keeps track of exercise habits, playtime, and periods of rest. It offers a daily fitness report for pets which shows progress against goals. Finally, the Fitbark is a bone-shaped collar attachment that tracks a dog’s activity against breed-specific guidelines. It sends notifications about a dog’s routine and the reports are easily sharable with veterinarians and other pet-care specialists. The Voyce dog collar keeps track of vital signs such as heart and respiratory rates. It also records periods of activity and rest, in addition to calories consumed. The Wonderwoof, shaped like an adorable bow tie, allows pet owners to keep on top of their pet’s health by monitoring activity levels and where a pet has been. It also sends notifications for actionable reminders such as worming, flea treatments, grooming, and vet visits.
Overall, there was a startling abundance of pet technology offered at CES 2015. These high tech pet products indicate a growing trend in smart tracking and health monitoring devices for people’s furry companions.