A dilemma many dog owners face is finally being addressed in an easy and stress-free way with the invention of a 13-year old girl. A child born in the age of technology has come up with a technological solution for dog separation anxiety.
One of the biggest concerns for Labrador owners is that you cannot take your dog everywhere. The poor Lab gets left at home – alone! It could happen very occasionally, but it could also be a daily occurrence. You do not like the idea of your Labrador being alone, but the reality of life is that you have to work, visit the doctor, attend a meeting, visit a friend and go about the activities of your everyday life. During those moments you and your Labrador can both suffer from separation anxiety, which is a very distressing feeling.
In the USA, 39% of households have a dog and this means that 13 million dogs could be suffering from separation anxiety at some point or another.
Brooke Martin from Spokane, WA discovered that her dog, Kayla, was suffering from separation anxiety every time she was not around. She came up with the idea of iCPooch that allows her to video chat and give treats to her dog from wherever she is. The ability to make sure that your dog is okay reassures the owner. Giving your dog a treat gives both dog and owner the opportunity to share a happy moment.
Brooke, a finalist for GM Young Scientist Award, delivered her idea at a startup weekend last year and received a standing ovation from the audience. Venture capitalist Tom Simpson also liked the idea and was eager to participate in the venture. Brooke launched her own company and filed for patents. The product is still a work-in-progress, and in the prototype phase. Brooke is hoping to have it on the shelves soon.
Scroll down for the iCPooch demo video.
Money was raised and a Kickstarter campaign has started. Here is some information about the iCPooch, taken from the Kickstarter page:
With the iCPooch device connected to a home wireless internet router, you can deliver a treat from a smart phone, tablet or computer no matter where you are. The device also has an adjustable mounting bracket so that you can attach a tablet or smart phone (not included) and video chat with your pet! The tablet/smart phone operates independently of the iCPooch device, allowing you to use Skype video chat software to auto-answer your calls (we are also working on our own video chat solution).
As long as your smart phone/tablet has a microphone and a camera (most do) and is connected to the internet, you can video chat with Fido at eye level, and in the separate iCPooch app deliver a treat. An estimated 13-million-plus dogs suffer from separation anxiety, and we know that pet ownersdo, too! The iCPooch is a combination of a miniature vending machine and a computer.
The device acts like a computer, using a motherboard (Raspberry P1 and Wi-Fi module to connect to the Internet. The computer is attached to a motor that is activated when the owner of the device gives it the “drop treat” command from their remote computing device (smart phone, tablet, PC, etc).
A removable/re-loadable sleeve inside the device houses the treats, and one treat is pushed by the motor arm each time the motor is activated.
Watch iCPooch in action.