November 11, 2008 Using RFID technology to track the whereabouts of your pet isn't a new idea, but the SNIF Tag takes the process a step further by incorporating an accelerometer and motion analysis software, meaning that not only can you locate your canine companion, but you can also determine how active they've been and even who they've met while you're stuck in the office.
Developed by four MIT Media Lab graduates, the system uses a small, collar mounted device linked wirelessly to a base station and data is uploaded to the SNIF website in real time. When your pet is out and about, information is stored in the tag and transmitted when they return home. The tags also talk to each other, recording encounters with other tag wearing dogs in the background while the standard canine meet-and-greet sniffing is taking place.
The data is then compiled in an online database which enables you to compare your dog’s activities with other dogs of the same breed or with the local canine population so that you can adjust diet or increase their exercise regime accordingly. It could also make life difficult for hired dog-walkers who are trying to take shortcuts.
The social networking aspect of the system turns Rover into a potential match-maker by allowing you to meet other dog-owners via online profiles and photos on the website.
“We loved the idea of using real-world social networking to let your dog do the relationship-building work and act as a kind of social catalyst,” said Noah Paessel, CEO and co-founder of SNIF Labs. “SNIF Tag not only gives dog owners peace of mind, it also offers a non-threatening way to meet new friends and companions via their dogs’ encounters.”
The SNIF tag is available in a range of customizable colors and patterns and a Starter Kit, including one year’s PREMIUM subscription to the online pet activity monitoring service costs USD$299. Premium membership costs $10 per month or $89 per year but the use of the website's basic features is free.