Aria Bendix is a frequent contributor to The Atlantic, and a former editorial fellow at CityLab. Her work has appeared on Bustle and The Harvard Crimson.
The new PetBot gadget lets you check up on your four-legged companion via alerts and animal selfies.
Pet owners often wonder what their furry friends do when they’re unsupervised all day. It’s even the subject of a new animated film. That question takes on a special urgency in close urban quarters. Is my dog barking so loudly that the downstairs neighbors can hear? Does my cat start clawing at the couch when it gets spooked by a noise outside?
What if you could know exactly what your pet is doing while you’re at the office or grabbing drinks with a friend?
That’s the idea behind PetBot, a cube-like device that allows you to check up on your pet while you’re on the go. Equipped with a camera and facial recognition software, PetBot detects whenever your animal moseys in front of the lens. This prompts it to emit a few sounds to grab your pet’s attention and encourage it to move towards the camera. Once your pet is close enough, PetBot is able to capture a brief video, and even dispense a treat.
Users can download a smartphone app that issues a notification when the pet takes a short video “selfie.” These alerts distinguish the device from other pet cams and apps on the market, which make you log in to check up on your animal. You can even program the settings so that your pet’s selfie will automatically upload to Instagram. Like most pet cams, the app lets you watch a livestream of your pet’s activity.
PetBot is also equipped with what the company calls “bark notification,” which alerts you when your pet starts barking. The app also permits you to give commands, so that you can control when the PetBot makes a sound or dispenses a treat. You can even record your own voice to ensure that your pet will respond.
When the device hits the market, it will retail for $199. The first round of shipments for early bird customers will be delivered by Christmas 2015, and the second round is scheduled for mid-2016.
PetBot, $189 pre-order on Indiegogo.