Last month, we looked at Petzila, a way for pet owners to speak to their dogs while they’re away, and deliver a treat remotely. Well, coming on to Kickstarter now is iCPooch, a device that attempts to one better by including full on two-way video chat between you and your dog.
Petzila offered owners a way to see their dogs with a camera built in to the device, but Fido wasn’t able to see them – just hear their voice. iCPooch takes a different approach, with, admittedly, one big drawback. Whereas Petzila was one self-contained system, iCPooch will rely on you mounting a smartphone onto the device in order for video chat to work. The only bit of electronics included on iCPooch is the treat dispenser, which you can activate using an app or a web browser, using an account with iCPooch.
So, if you do happen to have an old, unused (but still working) smartphone laying around – at this point, I’m sure that’s not rare – you can put it to use by attaching it to iCPooch. Then, you can set up a Skype account for your dog, connect the phone to your home Wi-Fi network, and put it on auto-answer. That way, when you call in, you can Skype your dog, alleviating that separation anxiety for both of you. iCPooch is also working on their own video chat software, probably so you don’t have to do any app switching when you want to give your dog a treat.
The project was started by Brooke Martin, 13, who won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge when she submitted a video for iCPooch. Her and her business team are now looking for funding on Kickstarter. You can secure an iCPooch for yourself with a $129 contribution.