Gadgets for the geeky dog
There’s the old cliche that dogs look like their owners. (Or is it that owners look like their dogs?) Well, if you’re a geeky dog owner, you not only get all the benefits of owning a dog but you also have an excuse to buy gadgets — for your dog! Here are a few that I have come across recently that made me giggle.
Have you been hanging out for a camera that snaps a picture when your dog smiles? FujiFilm’s Finepix Z700EXR is the first to have FujiFilm’s pet detection software, which basically means it is able to detect dog or cat faces. It also has an auto-release function that will automatically shoot a photo when the pet is looking directly at the camera. Before you rush off and buy one of these for all your cute dog and cat pics you should know there are a few caveats:
- It can only recognise up to 10 dog or cat faces per photo – I reckon you would be lucky to get 10 dogs or cats to be together in a photo, but good to know!
- It cannot detect pet faces in profile.
- It cannot detect faces of cats and dogs in the same picture – you actually have to select which species you are shooting.
- It has been optimised for a particular list of breeds – so it will recognise these more readily. (I can’t believe Cocker Spaniels aren’t in there!)
A camera for your dog
So the above camera helps you take photos of your dog but what if they want to take one of you. The Pet’s Eye View is a small digital camera you can attach to your pet’s collar, allowing you to see life from their point of view. You can set the timer to take pictures every 1, 5 or 15 minutes, however internal storage is limited to only 40 jpegs so schedule wisely.The camera has a rechargeable battery and is Mac and PC compatible.
I’d buy one, but I’m pretty sure Eddie’s photo reel would just consist of 40 shots of our cat’s bottom.
Ever wonder what your dog is trying to tell you? Well now you have a device that will help you with those one-sided conversations. The BowLingual Voice, produced by Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy, is a gadget which analyses the acoustics of a dog’s bark and translates the findings into human words. The company claims that their BowLingual can translate a hundred different barks which they then assign to one of six moods: happy, sad, content, needy, frustrated or anxious. The translator then comes up with a phrase that matches that mood.
It should be noted that the product only translates into Japanese, so my dogs and I will still have a language barrier, but I guess I just need to add a web translator into the mix. The phrases they do say are also reportedly cutesy (as you would expect from a Japanese toy manufacturer) e.g. “play with me”, rather than something useful like “I am going into your bedroom to chew up your shoes”.
The BowLingual consists of a dog collar and a handheld controller/receiver/speaker. The translated bark is displayed on the receiver via text and a range of graphics and then plays the audio phrase through the speaker. Data can be saved for later analysis and the functionality even includes an answering machine that makes it possible to monitor your dog’s feelings when you are away. The BowLingual is now available outside Japan for a cool $157 USD. However, if that is too much to spend there is an iphone app that is due to be released this month and it’s in English!
Have you ever felt the need to give your dog a quick call to see what he or she is up to? Well PetsCELL is a mobile (cell) phone for your dog that attaches to their collar. It has a built in GPS so you can track your dog (if it escapes, or just around the yard) and it is waterproof. The best feature though is that your dog gets its own phone number so you can call them and have a conversation! I am not sure what you want to say or if they want to talk to you, but I guess if they get lost you can always give them a call and ask them where they are.
According to the website this product was set for release in 2008 but when you visit the ‘where to buy’ page it says it is yet to be announced. Maybe most geeky dogs are holding out for an iPhone 4 or maybe this gadget has gone a little too far along the “crazy” continuum.
But who makes phone calls these days when you can tweet! Puppy Tweets is about to be unleashed onto the market by manufacturer Mattel and will give your dog the ability to send tweets. Basically it is a tag with a sound and motion sensor that you attach to your dog’s collar. This then sends information to a USB receiver plugged into your computer. The sensor randomly generates one of 500 canned tweets when it detects barking or movement and automatically posts an update to a twitter account.
An example of a tweet on the Puppy Tweets website is if your dog is barking you might get a Tweet like “Bark…and the whole neighborhood barks with you!” I am not sure if this will be regarded as spam or if users will love it, but prepare yourself to re-tweet messages from dogs the world over.
Have you bought any geeky gadgets for your pooch? Let us know or tell us about any others that you’ve been tempted to add to your Christmas wishlist!