Technology is advancing at a rapid rate, and often it feel as if our inter personal connections are decreasing as a result. People are often glued to their phone or obsessed with their computer screen. However, when it comes to our relationships’ with our pets the progress in technology could allow us to massively enhance our understanding as well as our ability to communicate with our pet.
Wearable technology is one of the fastest growing sectors of the technology industry, it was even featured on the Apprentice last year (although the resulting products proved that design and function take a while to develop, or at least certainly longer than a day.) Thankfully, designers of wearable technology have clearly dedicated a massive amount of time and given a great deal of thought in the process of creating a useful addition to pet fashion.
One of the main beneficiaries of the latest technology is dog owners. A variety of companies are developing functional dog collars. These allow an owner an increased level of supervision, regardless of location. This is seen in Fitbark, a bone-shaped tracker for your dog that allows you to “seamlessly track her every move”. The small device easily attaches to a dog collar, regardless of pet size, and allows you to monitor progress and observe the health of your pooch. You can easily compare this with other dogs, have the information ready to take to your vet (and if you are particularly inclined) upload the information to Facebook or Twitter. This could well be a nice way to keep your puppy’s Facebook fans and Twitter followers up to date. Of course, it could alternately really rather annoy your family and friends, but haters are always gonna hate.
Similar products exist for cats. They easily attach to the collar and allow an owner to monitor feline movement. However, it is not just cats and dogs who are benefiting from the increase in technology. Similar products are being made for chicken, horses and cows. In 2006 researchers at the National University of Singapore created a harness that meant a human could stroke their chicken remotely using wif-fi. Their touch would trigger the harness to deliver a touch-like sensation to the chicken.
Meanwhile a Swedish company, Luda, specialises in technology to help care for horses and cows. One of their products, HorseAlarm tracks sweat rates and calculates how often a horse lies down. These are two important factors as they could suggest either foaling or illness.
What do you think? Is wearable technology the way forward for your pet or does it taint the traditional relationship between man and animal? Comment below.