You know those weird people who spend hundreds of dollars on spa treatments for cats, or enroll their dogs in therapy?
Well now these people can take their neuroticism to a whole new level with PetBot.
PetBot launched a Kickstarter campaign today for its robot that lets people monitor and interact with their pets from afar. These boxy devices come loaded with a remote-controlled live webcam, which you can orient remotely to spy on your pet.
Because God forbid you miss it licking its butthole.
“Some see pets as a person’s best friend, and PetBot wants to help you become an even better best friend,” said founder Misko Dzamba.
PetBot will notify you when your pet is near, should your separation anxiety be so pronounced that you need glimpses of Fluffy in real-time. You can also interact with Fluffy by pre-recording commands and triggering them through the accompanying app.
“Our extensive research shows that remote two-way audio is not the best way to interact with your pet,” Dzamba said. “Additionally, we have learned that pets are unable to hold a conversation, and owners may have difficulty finding a private place from which they can properly converse with their pet.
The fact that Dzamba needed research to tell him this information is concerning. But perhaps not as concerning as the person who installs PetBot in their home so he can spend his lunch break watching Fluffy sleep.
The robot also has treat-dispensing cartridges so your beloved canine isn’t forced to endure the hours of your absence without Milk-Bones. Your home shouldn’t feel like a gulag after all. This is 2013.
If you feel guilty about abandoning your pet while you are forced to go to work (how else can you afford the gourmet dog ice cream and embroidered puppy snuggies?), or fear that you missed a pricelessly adorable moment, PetBot also takes photos and loads them into a gallery for you to peruse at your leisure.
I consider myself a “normal” dog lover, meaning that I coo when I see dogs in the street and browse through puppy pictures when I need a mood booster. I don’t think its weird to let your dog sleep at the foot of your bed, and understand paying for a personal dog sitter so your dog doesn’t have to stay in a kennel when you are on vacation. I’d even splurge on a doggy Halloween costume.
But a pet-watching robot? That just crazy.
Fluffy probably prefers his peace and quiet anyway, without some creepy robot talking to him in your voice and fattening him up with treats.
The device is currently in the prototyping stage, and the Kickstarter campaign will help bring it to market. You can choose between the assembled robot or a DIY assembly kit. PetBot’s hardware and software is open source so people can develop new applications and features.
Dzamba is currently a masters student in computational biology, and PetBot is something of a side gig. The Canadian team is raising $19,000. PetBot costs $190 for the robot and $153 for the DIY kit.
What is YOUR pet doing right now?
More: MobileBeat 2016 is focused on the paradigm shift from apps to AI, messaging, and chatbots. Don't miss this opportunity: July 12 and 13 in San Francisco.