My dog, Mattie, likes to run. He especially loves chasing after postmen, and when he was much younger and had energy to spend, would often vault himself over the fence after them. Several hours later and long after desperation had settled in, we would finally find him on the other side of the neighbourhood.
It’s why the “The World’s Smartest Dog Collar”, officially named WÜF and designed by a team from Boulder, Colorado, would’ve been a very handy thing to have.
The device came about sadly after cofounder and CEO Sean Kelly lost his beloved dog to a car, and is a device, he says, that is more than just a GPS tracker.
“We set out to use technology to bring a whole new dimension to our relationship with our best friends, that not only solves this [runaway] issue, but so many others and creates a whole new way to interact and communicate with them,” says Kelly.
Which is where the learning aspect comes in. The device “studies and understands your dog’s movements, sounds, activities, locations and interactions” using GPS tracking, onboard accelerometer, Bluetooth capabilities and two-way audio, which then map out your relationship with your dog.
The partnered mobile app, which operates on a freemium model with in-app upgrades, then provides suggestions on how best to ramp up the relationship you share with your best animal buddy through gamification options from the platform.
There’s also an invisible leash that utilises vibration to set virtual “fences” that you the owner can program, setting the perimeter to be as large or small as you like.
The best part of WÜF is the two-way audio speaker, which allows you to talk to your pet directly whether you’re at work or away on the other side of the world, as well as reinforcing voice command training. So if your dog is off on an adventure around the block, you can tell them to get home immediately (if they’re adequately trained).
WÜF is biteproof, waterproof, and shockproof, as well as being made using existing mobile technology, which means it’s been thoroughly tested to be safe for humans and pets alike. Hence why the founders of the device have suggested using it on either smaller humans or your partner, depending on the situation.
A lithium polymer battery that currently achieves a 5-day battery life on the prototype device powers it, but the designers hope they’ll be able to implement wireless charging come release day.
WÜF is currently still accumulating funds on KickStarter, and the general market launch date isn’t until nearly Christmas 2015. However, securing one now means at least you’re already sorted for a present next year.
The campaign can be found here.