With the recent percolation of wearable technology into various facets of our lives, it doesn't seem completely unsurprising that the tech-for-your-pets phenomenon has also caught some serious momentum — especially for dogs.
There is no shortage of activity tracking and pet monitoring devices that feed pet-owners' deepest, near-Orwellian desires to be connected with their furry friends at all times. Buddy — an LED dog collar from Melbourne and L.A-based pet-tech (yes, pet-tech) company Squeaker — is the latest feature-packed example of this.
The company boasts, "sav[ing] lives" through "cool pet safety products that not only keep your dogs safe but are fun to use."
Needless to say — it's a Kickstarter campaign. However, if you get past the insufferable jargon that chokes most crowdfunding-hungry pitches these days, the futuristic-looking collar actually has a variety of impressive features — in theory (the project is still over $200,000 away from its goal).
Getting into the specifics: owning a Buddy collar gives you an LED light display that can change colors and small OLED screen that shows your dog's calorie intake, amount of exercise during the day, and temperature. This is connected to an app that lets you track your dog's activity, movement and food intake, in addition to helping set up and remember appointments with the vet. The app can connect to any Android or iOS device (including the Apple Watch) through Bluetooth. It even allows you to set up custom geofences on maps and will alert you if your dog leaves the designated area.
The collar can also link to various home-automation devices like the Nest thermostat, which will automatically adjust based on your dog's body temperature, and the Phillips Hue Smart Bulbs, which can indicate if something important is happening to your dog. It is light-sensitive, leading to a more efficient use of the 14-day battery life, and with the ringed LED, it can prove to be a big plus in dark spaces.
These are just a few of the paragraphs after paragraphs of features the collar boasts on its Kickstarter page — to a degree that it almost makes you wonder whether there's a catch. Of course, there is.
Although there was an early bird Buddy promo that let pledgers buy the collar for $180, the regular price for the collar isn't cheap. The most rudimentary version of the collar ($180) comes without a GPS, activity tracking capabilities and WiFi charging dock. To get one with a fitness tracker and charging dock, you'd have to pay $240, while $300 would get you additional GPS and activity-sensing capabilities. There is also a sizing issue — the smallest model is 13 inches, while the largest is 25 inches — which makes the collar useless for most medium to large breeds.
Although jam-packed with features, the Buddy collar seems inaccessible to many who don't spend excessive amounts of money on their pet to "express its unique character through light." But hey, at least it's waterproof.