Although smart gadgets and cameras now make it easy to keep an eye on your cat or dog, we don’t buy pets to be their overlords; we buy them for companionship and fun. That’s why PlayDate‘s smart ball seems like such a fun invention, as it brings the world of connected technology to pets toys.
You control the connected ball from your smartphone, giving your pet something to chase. On top of that it has a built-in, 5 Megapixel, 160-degree camera and microphone, so you can keep an eye (and ear) on what they’re up to.
It’s supposed to act as a guilt-alleviator for the owner who has to spend a lot of time at work, as it lets them grab a few minutes here and there throughout the day to entertain their best friend, as well as check in on them with a moveable camera. That’ll be quite a view when your dog picks up the ball with his mouth, and you can save pictures and video of the precious moment, too.
That camera is stabilized during rotations, letting you roll the ball around without losing track of your little pal. If they’re being especially lazy and won’t chase after it, you can activate the built-in speaker to get their attention. The outside is a replaceable polycarbonate shell, in case Fido gets too enthusiastic, and the inner circuitry is protected by another layer. You can also attach ribbons to make it more enticing to cats. The PlayDate comes in a four-inch size, as well as more cat-friendly three-inch option.
Unfortunately for those of you already reaching for your wallets, the PlayDate smart ball isn’t available to purchase just yet. The creators have taken to Indiegogo to fund its development and the first run of the final product.
If you want to be one of the early buyers of the PlayDate smart ball, you can put down $149, or $100 off the future retail price. The creators hope to start shipping in December of this year, but as usual, there’s no guarantee that it will be smooth sailing with a crowdfunded project.