Tidy Dog: Smart toy bin trains pups to pick up

Fluffy is about to get a lesson in organization from the Tidy Dog, an intelligent toy bin that rewards dogs for cleaning up after themselves.

Tidy Dog with dog
A cavalier pup poses with the Tidy Dog. Tidy Dog

For most humans, having a clean house is its own reward. Dogs, however, need some convincing. The Tidy Dog toy box on Kickstarter wants to help train your pooch to pick up its toys, a feat that many children have yet to master. The bin works on a tasty treat reward system, which is a form of currency dogs understand well.

The Tidy Dog looks simple on the surface, but it actually contains sensors that detect the weight of a toy when it is placed in the bin. In exchange, the box dispenses a treat.

Plenty of dogs will try to figure out how to game the system, but the software is designed to thwart that. If a dog removes a toy from the bin, then it won't dispense treats for 30 seconds. That keeps the pooch from continuously picking up toys and dropping them back into place.

Tidy Dog creator Chris Lorkowski says the Tidy Dog can differentiate between a toy and the dog's nose rooting around in the box. He also says it can tell if a dog is just standing in the box. It has load cells built into the design that detect vibrations created by an animal. Hopefully, this feature would also be able to tell if your cat crawls into the toy bin for a snooze. After all, you want to train your pup, not make it fat.

An early backer special puts the Tidy Dog along with a bag of treats at a $69 pledge level. The prototype was developed using Lorkowski's dog Evie as the test subject. She definitely has the hang of cleaning up her toys in exchange for kibble. As far as doggie gadgets go, the Tidy Dog is an entertaining concept. It may be perfect for people who are tired of tripping over chew toys all the time. It just might create a new generation of canine neat freaks.

Tidy Dog
The Tidy Dog uses weight sensors to detect toys. Tidy Dog

About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.

 

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