There’s now a burgeoning market of computerized gadgets and accessories that can be attached to dogs (and sometimes cats).
But wearable tech for animals is actually nothing new; decades ago, scientists were tracking endangered species with radio-tracking collars and police and soldiers were attaching devices to their dogs to receive commands electronically. More recently, there’s an abundance of all kinds of tracking and monitoring devices, typically in the form of a tech-laden collar that can be accessed through Web browsers and mobile smartphone apps.
And there’s more on the way: “Wearable tech for dogs was really big at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year,” said Tom Emrich, founder of We Are Wearables. “And the latest trend is devices that quantify your pet’s health, just like Fitbit does for humans.”
Here are three for consideration:
Voyce is a lightweight, waterproof collar that monitors your dog’s health and fitness, and uses Wi-Fi to synch the data so that you can access it anytime or anywhere. “It’s got sensors on board that allow you to monitor things that are typical with human-based trackers, like rest, calories burned, distance traveled,” said the director of program management, Ben Maphis. “But our ‘secret sauce‘ is reading heart and respiratory rates in a non-invasive way, using low-frequency, radio-based technology. And it works on every type of dog.” Voyce retails for $299; there’s also a monthly membership fee of $9.95. For more info, go to www.mydogsvoyce.com.
Tagg is a little band, about the size of a wristwatch that attaches to your dog’s collar and basically keeps track of his whereabouts through GPS and satellite technology. This device sets up a geofence around the house, acting like a digital pet-sitter you can monitor through your smartphone app and Web-based browser to alert you when your dog goes beyond its parameter. The band costs $99.95; there’s a one-time activation fee of $14.95. Service fees start at $6.95 a month. Log on to www.pettracker.com for more details.
The Narrative Clip (“The Wearable Camera for Moments That Matter“) is a tiny camera (postage stamp size) that clips onto your dog’s (or cat’s) collar, snapping a photo every 30 seconds for up to 30 hours. The photos can then be uploaded to the Narrative website. The Clip sells for $149. More info can be checked out at www.getnarrative.com.
Google Glass, the head-mounted, Internet-connected computer that’s worn like a pair of glasses, has generated some controversy for its ability to take pictures or film videos of people and events (using a simple gesture or voice command) without their knowledge or prior consent.
Early testers of the device, however, have reported little or no backlash from the public. But the testers say that a few high-profile, isolated incidents have given Glass an unfair reputation. Glass users have been tossed from movie theaters, banned in bars, restaurants and casinos, and pulled over for driving while wearing it.
All of which has raised the question: Is Glass really about to strip away the last bits of privacy, as some believe?
Glass users maintain it’s a natural fear of the unknown; that once the technology’s in more hands, everyone will relax.
Sources: “Wearable tech: It’s going to the dogs”-by Patrick May, San Jose Mercury News (TNS)-The (Sunday) Vindicator, March 15, 2015 and “Google Glass users get mostly warm reception”-Los Angeles Times-The (Sunday) Vindicator, April 13, 2014
Product source: Mercury News Reporting