Humans have long used technology to stay in touch with one other. It's only natural to harness tech to stay in touch with our four-legged loved ones, as well.
PetChatz is a system designed to help you interact with your pup or kitty, no matter how far away you are.
It's one thing to just use a two-way video system. PetChatz has that. But it also caters to your furry friend's heightened senses of taste and smell.
You install PetChatz in your home into an electrical outlet, which is typically located close to pet eye level. It connects to your home Wi-Fi network. The device activates remotely from your computer through the PetChatz Web site, or through a tablet or smartphone app. It plays a tone to get your pet's attention, and then you can see the wee beastie, talk to it, and push a button to dispense a small treat onto the floor.
One of PetChatz's more unusual features is a scent dispenser. It holds proprietary scent pads and releases the odor on demand. The company offers a "calming" scent, but will also let customers create their own scents. That should work well for pets who like to cuddle with your dirty socks or sleep with their noses pointed at the pot roast in the oven.
As if audio, video, treats, and smells weren't enough, PetChatz also has sound and motion detection. You can set it up to alert you to when your pets are romping nearby, or consider pointing it at a trouble spot to catch them in the act of destroying your couch cushions. Then you'll find out if remote video dog-shaming works.
PetChatz currently has working prototypes and plans for a customer test run within the next few months. The aim is to ship production models by spring of 2014. If you want to get on board early, you can place a pre-order for $349. There are no monthly service fees.