Meet the "Minority Report" of dog collars. The Buddy by Squeaker on Kickstarter is a futuristic combination of a necessary dog accessory with every imaginable piece of tech thrown into the mix.
The Buddy has safety features. It glows at night with LED lights and can track your best buddy by GPS in case he escapes from the yard. It monitors the temperature around your pooch and notifies you if it goes into the danger zone.
The Buddy also has Fitbit-style features. It tracks steps, sleep, calories burned and food intake. It also has doggy social-networking features. It can notify you when other Buddy users are around and it lets you share comments and photos.
The list of software features associated with the collar is astounding. Here's the breakdown: activity monitoring, secure geofencing, food scanner, health statistics, visual FX library, home automation, calendar alerts, social alerts, cell alerts, email alerts and reminders. It even works with smart-home devices like the. If your dog gets too cold or hot, the Buddy can adjust the temperature in your home.
It doesn't end there. Stretch goals for the project include a speaker and microphone pack and training software.
Despite the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to pet technology, Squeaker is still about $200,000 away from its $281,233 funding goal for the Buddy, with 16 days left to run. The culprit may well be the high price. An entry-level version of the collar without tracking or analytics requires a pledge of $245 (about £155, AU$33o). The top-of-the-line model with GPS runs $405 (about £260, AU$550). That's a premium price for an untested crowdfunding product with massive ambitions.
If the Buddy gets built and works as advertised, it will be a spectacular product for high-tech dog owners who don't mind the investment. So far, Kickstarter hasn't been terribly kind to the innovative but expensive gadget.