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by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
awesome stuff, innovation, pets

Awesome Stuff: Pets Need Innovative Technology Too

from the well,-maybe-they-do dept

For this week's awesome stuff of interesting or bizarre crowdfunding projects, we're going to go with three crowdfunding projects involving technology for pets. Yes, pets. I've got a cat and a dog and a bunch of fish, and I've never once thought about buying any special technology (beyond basic fish tank stuff) for them, but apparently others like to go a little bit further.
  • My fish don't seem to do much besides swim around, eat and die all too frequently, but perhaps it's because I'd never thought to give them something fun to do like Fish on Wheels. Yes, fish on wheels. It's basically what it says on the label. A fish-tank with wheels and some computer vision technology to move the vehicle in the direction the fish swims. Bizarrely, they don't have a "campaign video" but rather they do have this YouTube video from a few months ago that has over a million views and had me laughing outloud multiple times, as you watch the fish drive the vehicle.
    The video above released back in February just for fun, basically, to demonstrate how you can do cool things with computer vision technology. But, as you can see from the million-plus views, it went kind of viral, and the folks who made it decided to Kickstart it to see if they could actually turn it into a product. The full thing will run you between €199 and €249 depending on how early you are. I'm not sure it'll actually reach its goal. As I type this it's still at just under €5,000, with a target of €40,000, with about three and a half weeks to go. As awesome as the video above is, I'm not entirely sure how I'd feel about having this thing roaming around my house.
  • How about a gaming console for your dog? That's what CleverPet is trying to do. Actually, it's a WiFi-connected automatic feeder, but with the idea of "challenging" your dog to do certain things to keep it entertained or something. There's a lot of talk about how your dog needs more intellectual stimulation or something. My dog seems to prefer being slumped over in the corner, so I'm not sure about that, but perhaps other dogs are jealous of you and your Xbox.
    The video and project page are clear and professional. The actual device runs between $129 and $199 depending on how early an early bird you might be. The project seems to have a decent chance of getting funded, having already hit about 30% of its $100,000 goal in just a couple days.
  • If you just want a full-featured Wi-Fi connected pet feeder without the whole "gaming console" stuff, perhaps the PetPal is a better option. This thing includes a camera and a speaker so you can watch and communicate with your pet as you feed them from far away. It's an interesting project, but man, the people putting it together should have sought some help in creating both their video and the pitch. The video is way too long (and spends too much time on other stuff before getting to the point) and the pitch itself also focuses too much on the backstory rather than the product.
    These are also a lot more expensive than the CleverPet too. To actually get a PetPal you have to spend between $350 and $395. All in all, this project isn't gaining much traction. Nearly a month in with still nearly a month to go (also: leaving a project open too long tends to be a bad idea), they're only at around $12,000 reached, well below their goal of $150,000.
That's it for this week. Go spend some time with your pets.

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