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Smart Home

Pebby is a little bot to monitor your pets while you're away

The Wi-Fi camera-equipped Pebby is part toy, part pet monitor.

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I've often wondered what mischief my dog gets into when I'm not home. I could install a camera to keep an eye on her, but that would only cover a single room and she's a pretty active pup.

Fortunately, startup Pebby might have a fix. Its $124 (roughly £100, AU$165 converted) PebbyBall, PebbyKennel and PebbyCollar pet monitoring kit promises to watch over your dog or cat, while simultaneously keeping them entertained.

Here's how it's supposed to work. The PebbyBall is a small, lithium-ion-powered robot covered in a polycarbonate shell that's supposedly "shatterproof" and "waterproof." Your dog or cat can bat around this 3-inch robo-ball just like any other toy, but there are also some hidden smarts inside. You can set the PebbyBall to "Auto-Play," "Auto-Follow" or "Auto-Repel" mode or use the related Pebby app on your Android or iOS device to control the ball yourself.

The PebbyBall also has a built-in 720p high definition night vision camera inside. That means you should be able to view a live video feed and even talk to your pet via its two-way intercom function. I'm not sure how well a rolling ball would be able to capture video, but it's designed to run for up to 1.5 hours of active time and 15 hours in standby mode. When your PebbyBall's battery is low, it's supposed to return to the PebbyKennel charging dock just like a robot vacuum.

The PebbyCollar completes the Pebby kit. This little gizmo goes on your pet's collar and is supposed to track their activity and give you an overview in the app. Its rechargeable battery should last for up to 12 days. We haven't seen anything quite like Pebby before, but smart pet tech is definitely on the rise. I recently tested the Petnet Smartfeeder, a food bowl that distributes a certain amount of dry food on a daily schedule.

Pebby has just started its Kickstarter campaign with an overall goal of $50,000. The earliest backers can snag a PebbyBall, Kennel and Collar for $124, kits ship anywhere and the estimated product delivery date is July 2017.

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