New Technology Helps Owners Find Lost Pets, Chat with Furry Family Members Back Home
February 26, 2014
By Dr. Becker
There are few worse times in a pet owner’s life than when a beloved dog or cat goes missing. The feelings of worry, fear, guilt, sadness… the sleepless nights… the sense of desperation. It can be truly overwhelming.
New App to Help Find Lost Pets
There are a number of steps owners of a lost pet can take to try to recover their four-legged family member. The most important include:
- Searching your neighborhood immediately
- Putting up missing posters
- Using Internet resources
- Checking your local shelter regularly from the first day your dog or cat goes missing
And now there’s a new app called PiP (Positive Identification of Pet) that uses facial recognition technology to help locate lost pets. Owners register their pets and upload photos, and in the event the animal goes missing, the app sends out an alert to all other PiP subscribers in the area, as well as local shelters and veterinary offices.
Photos of found pets are then cross-referenced with the picture of your lost pet. It’s kind of like the Amber Alert system, but for pets.
According to ABC News, PiP CEO Philip Rooyakkers came up with the idea for the app while working with a dog that went to a new home only 48 hours after arriving at a shelter.
“It struck me that this dog was grieving, that he was missing ‘his true owners,’ and I knew that somewhere out there his true owners were also grieving,” said Rooyakkers. “The unfairness of this situation struck a chord with me and I knew there had to be a better way to reunite lost pets with their rightful owners.”
Two-Way Petcam Helps Owners and Pets Stay in Touch
Many pet owners and their furkids experience anxiety when they are separated during business trips, vacations, and other situations that take mom or dad away from home.
But a Minnesota-based startup has come to the rescue with a two-way petcam that allows owners and their pets to connect and interact online. Think Skype or FaceTime.
The petcam, dubbed PetChatz, features a "chew-proof" intercom-sized unit with a built-in speakerphone, camera system and interactive LCD screen that can be plugged into any wall outlet. With an internet connection, pet owners can use an app on their computer or mobile device to initiate a savable, shareable chat session with their four-legged family member. A distinctive ring tone lets the pet know someone is calling. While dogs and cats don’t actually have the ability to chat, pet parents can use the “Greet & Treat” feature to reward their pet with treats or favorite scents that are kept in a hidden compartment.
There is also a supplemental motion and sound detection system that can be installed to alert owners of any activity around the house.
This device probably does more for the emotional welfare of owners than for their pets. But pets, especially dogs, do receive mental stimulation from interacting with the technology. The company that makes PetChatz, Anser Innovation, has tested the device with pets and their owners, and believes pets can be easily trained to recognize the distinctive ring tone. The company also discovered that pets who tend to be interested in TV are more likely to recognize their owner’s face on the PetChatz screen and follow commands.
The PetChatz device, which costs $350, is the brainchild of Mark Kroll, a medical technology developer and prolific inventor. He came up with the idea while he was at home Skyping with his daughter, and the family’s Labrador Retriever came running into the room at the sound of her voice.