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iFetch allows a dog to play fetch on its own

By

June 21, 2013

A dog playing with the iFetch device

A dog playing with the iFetch device

Image Gallery (4 images)

Playing fetch with your dog is surely one of life's high points. After a short while though, it can all get a bit tiring and just a tad boring. Your bouncing bundle of fun, on the other hand, would happily keep the game going for hours. Fortunately, technology is here to help. The iFetch from the Hamill family shoots out a ball for your dog to fetch, and when fido drops it in the opening at the top, it's fired back out again.

This interesting fetch assistant works by dropping a miniature tennis ball in the bowl up top, which causes the device to power on and launch it. Once the ball is fired out of the opening to the front, iFetch turns off so it doesn't waste any power. When the ball is dropped in the top again, by pooch or person, the process repeats. It can run on batteries or through a wall plug, so it can used at home or while out and about.

Of course, not all dogs are going to use the device on their own. It may require some training before the little tyke understands that when a ball is dropped in the device, it gets shot out of the front. The video below shows a dog named Mr. Jenkins using the iFetch, and doing a hilarious little dance while he waits for the ball.

While Mr. Jenkins requires a little human assistance for his game, the Hamill family uses a different dog by the name of Beaker to really show the iFetch at its best. In the following video, the miniature dachshund is able to play with the device with very little human interaction. Beaker was actually 11 years old when he first started using the iFetch, proving that you really can teach an old dog new tricks.

iFetch has an adjustable range for shooting its mini tennis balls. Users can choose between 10, 20, and 30 feet (3, 6 and 9 m), so it can be used inside or out. Because it uses miniature balls, the Hamills recommend using the device for small- to medium-sized dogs.

The Hamills have turned to Kickstarter to get iFetch into the hands of dog-loving consumers. It has already passed it's US$20,000 goal with over three weeks left in the funding period. Both early bird specials have now gone, so backers will now need to stump up at least $75 to reserve a device. Shipping is estimated to start in November.

The Kickstarter pitch below provides more information on the iFetch.

Sources: iFetch, Kickstarter

About the Author
Dave LeClair Dave is an avid follower of all things mobile, gaming, and any kind of new technology he can get his hands on. Ever since he first played an NES as a child, he's been an absolute tech and gaming junkie.   All articles by Dave LeClair
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10 Comments

My experience is that launching tennis balls by hitting them with a baseball bat wears the dog out pretty fast.

Slowburn
21st June, 2013 @ 02:58 pm PDT

Hey any device that frees me from having to physically interact with my pets or children and allows me, instead, to do what is really important like watching TV is a winner in my book.

sk8dad
21st June, 2013 @ 05:17 pm PDT

re; sk8dad

People that have jobs and such have to leave their pets alone for hours on end this will help.

Slowburn
22nd June, 2013 @ 01:33 pm PDT

From the dog safety angle, the ball size limit fails it for me. A larger dog could easily swallow a small ball, though a smallish dog could still fetch a larger one. I throw balls at times for both Springer Spaniels (biggish) and Cocker Spaniels (smaller) - both adults and pups, they need different weights and sizes. I have also owned others, including a Collie (Lassie) and smaller breeds, so prefer the idea of varied sizes of ball. Also, I wonder how easy it is to clean the "slobber" (imagine a Great Dane or Newfoundland) from the inside after a while?

The Skud
23rd June, 2013 @ 08:21 pm PDT

Just scrolled down and read the "GoDogGo" story below. It holds multiple balls so one dog could be chasing while another was fetching. A little dearer, but sounds OK as well. It has been around since 2006 so should have any 'bugs' worked out by now.

The Skud
23rd June, 2013 @ 08:24 pm PDT

If after 3 years of tweaking they still can't get the dog to load the ifetch without prompting, I think there might be a problem with the concept.

My experience is that the dogs like fetching because they like the interaction with humans.

Michaelc
24th June, 2013 @ 09:12 am PDT

This is not the stupidest idea I have heard of but deserves a place of the list of bad ideas anyway. Anyone's pet wants direct attention and play time not a tool. A dog or cat will only play by themselves with a given toy for awhile. This product will only sell to people with more money than common sense and who have a shallow view of their pet's interests. This might actually do well for awhile. Just as well as Pet Rocks did about thirty years ago.

StWils
24th June, 2013 @ 09:40 am PDT

If you get this or a similar device, you are torturing your poor dog with neglect. Throw the damn ball with your bored dog! They'll love you for it.

johnweythek
24th June, 2013 @ 10:08 am PDT

The number of people that never leave their house on this forum is amazing. For dogs of people who have to leave for hours on end to earn a living this could be a godsend.

Slowburn
24th June, 2013 @ 11:53 am PDT

I’m imagining some hilarious scenarios for an unattended iFetch: an energetic fox terrier home alone for the day, a careless bump and a shift in trajectory leading to knickknack mayhem.

fleming
24th June, 2013 @ 04:29 pm PDT
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