When you go to work, school, or leave for a holiday and you can’t bring your pet with you, there’s a good chance that they’re probably missing you and wondering where you went. Sure, there are devices out there that let pet owners video call their pets, but what if the reverse was possible? What if your pet could call you when they missed you?

That’s something that researcher Dr Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas from the University of Glasgow wanted to solve, and together with the help of other researchers from the Aalto University in Finland, they created a device called the DogPhone. It is essentially a device that’s placed inside of a pet’s toy.

In this case, the prototype was put inside of a ball that Hirskyj-Douglas gave to her 10-year old labrador, Zack. The device is then linked up to a laptop that can make video calls, so whenever the dog would play with the ball, the accelerometer inside would sense movement and would then initiate a video call with Hirskyj-Douglas.

This meant that the decision to make the call would be on the dog, not the owner. It also gives the dog the opportunity to answer or ignore the call, like a regular person would. It’s kind of a novel piece of tech, but also kind of cute. According to Hirskyj-Douglas, this is more of a demonstration of how tech can be formed around animals and how animals could be active participants in technology like the rest of us.

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