Hoping to capitalize on over-protective pet owners (like myself!), Softbank is rolling out its innovative - and admittedly cute - Mimamori Camera. This clever pet monitoring system allows you to keep tabs on your pet remotely via your mobile phone, all in real time using a Japanese handset's 'TV call' function.
While there have been numerous pet monitoring solutions that use your computer's web camera before, this is the first that I know of that uses an independent camera controlled remotely via mobile phone. The design, intended to resemble the head of an animal, will likely be a hit with those who have a soft spot for little kawaii robots.
The camera's range of movement is limited though, allowing for 35 degrees of movement to the left and right, 40 degrees tilt in an upward direction, and five degrees downwards. If strategically placed in the corner of a room, though, the Mimamori shouldn't have too many blind spots.
If you want to snap a still photo, you can send an SMS to the Mimamori, and it will send you the image back to you. The camera has a 300,000 pixel sensor, with digital zoom and motion detection features built in. The Mimamori also comes with a microSD card slot, allowing for some media storage. It's powered via an AC adapter, so if you plan to use it in your backyard (for example) be aware that there is no battery.
It will be available in two variations: the round, white Z001 model and the taller, silver (somewhat R2D2-ish) Z002 model. Neither occupies much space, measuring in at just 4.0 x 4.0 x 4.1 inches and 3.3 x 4.4 x 4.1 inches respectively. While no price point has been announced to date, the Softbank Mimamori will be released in Japan in September of this year.