Anyone who owns a pet knows that keeping them occupied is a challenge. My dog requires at least an hour of roughhousing and a couple of math problems every day to keep his mind and body engaged. Unfortunately, a lot of us don’t always have the time required to give our pets the attention they deserve. It’s why Pebby has come up with an “advanced robotic pet-sitter” that lets you play with your furry friend no matter where in the world you might be.
There are a few different elements to Pebby’s long-distance pet monitoring and interaction system. Central to that is the Pebby Ball, a ball made out of polycarbonate plastic so your dog can’t destroy it like he does everything else. It has two modes of operation. ‘Auto-Play’ lets you put the ball on auto-pilot so it rolls and bounces around giving your pet something to chase. If you’d like to be more hands-on, there’s the option of controlling the ball remotely through a mobile app. For cat owners, there’s a pet-safe laser that can be engaged through the ball.
The ball comes with a two-way built-in mic and a video camera with a wide-angle lens. You might think footage from a camera stuck in a ball would be reminiscent of the nauseating camera work from the Bourne movies, but it’s actually rendered as stabilized high-definition video. The mic can be used to listen in on your pet as well as hear their response to pre-recorded messages.
The other couple elements that Pebby involves are a collar and a charging dock. PebbyCollar is a is a motion-sensing device that goes on dogs’ collars. It tracks their mobility and activity levels throughout the day, so you have a general idea of what kinds of activities they’re up to. To be sure, you can always beam into Pebby Ball and view the camera feed.
The charging dock for the ball is called Pebby Kennel. It uses a self-docking system that aligns the ball with the docking port once the ball is close by. It’s a handy tool given you’ll probably have to maneuver the ball into the dock remotely most of the time. The ball comes with built-in LED lights, so you know where it is even in poor lighting conditions.
Pebby has $157,000 to its name on Kickstarter, managing to make over triple its original $50,000 goal. The project has what it needs to go on floors with over three weeks left to add to its already substantial crowdfunding collections. Currently, the Pebby Package, which includes the smart ball, smart collar, charging dock, and access to the mobile app is available at a $135 early bird discount. That pledge tier is running out in a hurry, so you might want to act fast if you’re set on purchasing the device at the subsidized Kickstarter price. If everything goes to plan, units will begin shipping July 2017.
Prateek Jose is a writer and engineering undergrad from India with an unhealthy obsession for obscure historical trivia. Conversations about absurdist fiction and the technological singularity make his day. He’s already uploading parts of his brain to servers by writing for websites such as this one.