Although many of us pet owners wish it was true, our four legged friends just can't communicate with us as well as other humans can. We come from different worlds and evolved to express our wants and needs via different means. This is the reason why many pets suffer long standing chronic pains and illnesses; we simply don't always pick up on their signals and they can't tell us: "Hey, it hurts to walk."
For this reason, i4c Innovations is introducing Voyce which it claims will bridge the communication impasse between pet and owner. Voyce is more than the bark-translator implied by its name, but rather an owner education system. Designed by a veterinarian, the Voyce system provides the full gamut of behavioral data from which other veterinarians may deduce previously undiagnosed issues.
The Voyce collar contains a sensor array which monitors your pets vitals and behavior, including heart rate, calories burned, and breathing patterns. The built in accelerometer also provides mobility data which can provide early warning for creeping diseases such as arthritis; decreasing activity levels can indicate that something is wrong. Sourced from the same array, sleeping posture data can also be an important tool in identifying some symptoms of cardiac and pulmonary diseases which can seriously shorten your pets lifespan if continuing undetected. All that information is uploaded every time the Voyce collar connects to your home WiFi system, or can be immediate accessed using the companion smartphone app and the Voyce's built in bluetooth connectivity.
The web-based interface provides up to the minute information as well as a history of your dogs behavior. Single incidences of unusual behavior may just be that, but looking over the history and identifying trends can indicate serious issues that may be avoided by early intervention. In addition, owners can compare their pets' vitals and behavior with others of the same breed, which can tell you whether your puppy is unusually hyper-active or just playful. The interface also allows for recording incidences that are not recorded by the collar, like vomiting, which can be easily omitted during the next vet visit if it isn't recurring.
Aiming to further pet owner education, i4c Innovations apparently took a book from dog training manuals. The software interface will continually provide suggestions for articles to read and activities to perform, to improve understanding and bonding with the pet. Acting on those suggestions provides points which the owner can accumulate over time. Read an article on the importance immunization? Here's 20 points. Took your dog out for a 30 minute walk? Who's a good owner? As silly as it sounds, this feature is pretty smart, and if it helps improve pet health and happiness we're all for it.
Currently the Voyce collar is designed to be an "always on" accessory, so it is designed to be comfortable, lightweight and is powered for about a week on a single 3-4 hour charge. Only available for larger breeds, i4c also plans to release collars for toy breeds and cats this year. The initial cost of the collar is $199 and will require a subscription service which is estimated to cost $10 - $15 a month, which is a small investment when it comes to the health and welfare of your adoptive companion.
[Hero Image: Flickr user "lukema"]