iPetCompanion have developed telepresence technology that allows you to manipulate toys so you can play with your pets while you’re away. The team has installed the system in hospitals and animal shelters to connect sick kids to homeless pets in need of interaction. Now they are crowdfunding on Kickstarter to bring a consumer version into people’s homes.
This is not new, but it is one of a few products out there designed specifically for play. I’ve previously written about a Microsoft engineer who used Robotics Studio to design DarwinBot, a mobile robot to play fetch with his dog. There are also web based pet feeders, like FeedandGo or Petzi that simply just allow you to feed and speak to your pets. But play is more interactive than feeding.
iPetCompanion has been doing this for a few years and is installed at several pet shelters across the US. It has actually increased adoptions at these facilities as humans fall in love with these furry creatures and take them home. Stories are written everyday about how technology disconnects us from the real world; this is one where technology allows us to form new connections and potentially in real life.