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CleverPet plays mind games with your dog

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May 8, 2014

CleverPet is designed to keep your dog stimulated while you're away

CleverPet is designed to keep your dog stimulated while you're away

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Pets that are home alone have a lot of time on their hands, resulting in boredom, anxiety, and a tendency to do things like tear up carpets. Not all of us can afford doggie daycare or have kids to coerce into playing with Fido while we’re at work, so there’s definitely a gap for technology to fill. CleverPet is an interactive device designed to keep your dog entertained by stimulating its mind and dispensing food as a reward. Fill it up with dry dog food and its software will run your pet through a selection of games designed to keep it stimulated and well-fed while you’re away.

CleverPet is made out of silicone, so it feels more inviting to a dog’s touch and can’t be confused with hard plastic things that dogs are told to stay away from, like phones and remotes. It also has a low center of gravity, so it can’t be knocked over, and it’s designed without any bits that invite chewing. Instead, its has three touch-sensitive pads that light up in colors inside a dog’s visual spectrum and a microphone to detect barks.

If CleverPet reminds us of anything, it’s that old “Simon” game that made you repeat increasingly complex patterns of lights until you slip up and were rewarded with an electronic raspberry. In the same way, the CleverPet has three touch-sensitive pads that light up in different colors and combinations.

CleverPet adjusts iteself to match your dog's performance

The idea is that CleverPett sets a series of challenges for your dog which, when successfully completed, results in food being dispensed as a reward. The challenges start off simple, with the dog hitting any pad to receive a reward, but as play progresses, the device adjusts the level of difficulty in real time to match the dog’s performance. The games include teaching the dog to detect changes in color, pressing a sequence of lights, and responding to commands pre-recorded in the user's own voice.

The makers say that CleverPet is more than a toy. It also replaces the dog’s food bowl as it doles out its food a bit at a time rather than in one huge dump. The device will also connect via Wi-Fi to iOS and Android smartphones via an app, as well as the company’s website to allow you to monitor your dog’s progress and control the device. The CleverPet is Arduino-compatible and open source, allowing custom apps to be created for the device.

CleverPet is the focus of a Kickstarter campaign to cover the costs of tooling and redesigning the feeder mechanism for manufacturing. It runs through June 1 and has already raised nearly US$85,000 of its $100,000 goal. The US$129 tier has already been filled, leaving the $159 tier as the minimum pledge to reserve a device, assuming all goes to plan.

The Kickstarter video pitch below shows the CleverPet in action.

Source: CleverPet

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
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8 Comments

Very clever and fun idea.

The retail price of 299$ is outrageous though. Nobody in their right mind would pay 300 dollars for a dog feeder.

Why not list it for 99$ or 149$? It's not that expensice equipment. Probably 40$ for a piece.

Tuppe
9th May, 2014 @ 12:34 am PDT

Could call it a Darwinian machine for dogs - the less intelligent starve to death.......!

Brian M
9th May, 2014 @ 04:18 am PDT

And because dogs are pack animals, it no longer looks at you as the alpha of the pack and instead holds the device in higher steed than you and begins to challenge your position in the hierarchy of things...next thing you know, you're at the bottom of the pecking order...yeah...the robots are taking over!

Ed
9th May, 2014 @ 01:56 pm PDT

Around $35 ea. and thy'll sell like hotcakes.. It is possible to make more by making less.. Something America doesn't seem to understand..

acyron
9th May, 2014 @ 07:02 pm PDT

I know a couple of dogs smart (and strong!) enough to pick up this device and shred it within 48 hours... and there you have a serious hazard for your pet since most batteries are quite toxic.

A better idea would be to provide some sort of lock to keep it fixed to the ground. Less chance for pups to "excessively interact" with this device...

Charlie Channels
10th May, 2014 @ 08:03 am PDT

My dog had separation anxiety. He suffered when left alone. This would have been great if it kept him occupied and fed. But I doubt it would have kept him feeling less alone. There is no substitute for sentients.

Don Duncan
10th May, 2014 @ 01:49 pm PDT

This doesn't seem to be a feeder people... geez, talk about a negative bunch of people.

Reason it costs so much is because this is a startup company, not an established manufacturer in china that can pop these out at $10 each...then have it break down 5 days later or made from some toxic material.

sigh

Why not support these startup companies and stimulate more creativity and ingenuity in the US?

Gerald Badoz
11th May, 2014 @ 09:50 am PDT

Founder, here.

@Gerald: Thanks! We've tried really hard to keep the price as low as we could. We thought it was really important that our users should be able to hack the device themselves, which has meant increased costs.

@Charlie we're working very hard to make sure that this device is ultra-safe. We know that there are lots of different kinds, shapes, and sizes of dogs out there!

LeoTrottier
31st May, 2014 @ 06:19 pm PDT
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