You're watching football, rooting for your favorite team, when all of a sudden the television changes over to a nature special on the secret lives of cats. "Bad Floofypants! Turn the channel back!" And that's the moment you regret hooking your dog up with its own TV remote control. This could be reality soon. UK pet-food brand Wagg is behind an unusual gadget that gives pups the power to channel surf.
Wagg teamed with Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, a researcher with a specialty in animal-computer-interaction design at the UK's University of Central Lancashire. Animal-computer-interaction design is an amazingly adorable field of research described as "focusing on the design and use of machines for animals, particularly on the interface and how the animal can interact." Talk about squee-science.
"Recent research found the average dog now watches more than nine hours of TV a week, showing that technology is already playing a huge part in our pets' lives," Hirskyj-Douglas said.
The remote is thoughtfully designed with dog capabilities in mind. The yellow and blue color scheme is easy for canines to see, and large buttons are sized for paws. The whole thing is made from waterproof plastic just in case Fido slobbers on it or decides it would be a good place for a piddle.
A built-in hole lets puppy parents attach a rope toy, turning the entire remote into a portable plaything. The buttons make lower-frequency squeaking noises specifically chosen to appeal to a dog's sense of hearing.
The gadget is a prototype, so you can't run out to the closest pet-supply store and buy one for your favorite couch poochtato. If trials are successful, Wagg says it will approach tech companies about putting the remote into production. Then you can decide if you truly want to relinquish control over your television to your dog's viewing tastes. You'll probably end up watching a lot more "Lassie" reruns then you ever wanted.