Dogs can be great companions. Often called Man’s best friend, they have become the object of much affection by their masters who treat them more like kids than pets sometime. However, the reality is that pet owners go to work, and dogs don’t have much entertainment during the day.
Worse, some studies have suggested that dogs can feel distress or anxiety when left at home alone. The level of stress seems related to the alone-time for dogs in this situation. In some countries, “pets hotels” are seen as a solution to this problem, but they are expensive and not always convenient or available.
Ballready (site in Korean) aims at making things better by creating a dog owner telepresence. The device features all the ingredients to make a dog happy: a bowl for food, a ball to play with and speakers to hear his owner’s voice. The owner can see what’s going on thanks to the integrated camera. Jin Kim, the CTO at BallReady has a good deck of slides to pitch the value of the product.
When the dog wants to play, it just needs to put a ball in the device, and the master can activate a launch remotely and see the dog play over the webcam. Here’s a video of the product in action:
I’ve played with a unit at Global Mobile Vision 2014 (Seoul, S. korea), and the idea worked pretty well. The video is not “HD” per say, but it is good enough to know what’s going on in the play area. The video also has a slight delay, depending on the network conditions – but it get the job done.
BallReady may not eliminate “separation anxiety” for dogs, but it could help, and if the dog wasn’t suffering from anxiety, then it could be a “dog happiness”package. At $600, it’s not cheap, but it is also a unique product that may appeal to dog owners who want peace of mind with a zest of entertainment. Let’s be honest: this is a gift for the master as much as the pet.