Leo Trottier and Dan Knudsen have invented a new interactive game that they are hoping to raise enough money to market. This is not just any game console; it is a game console just for dogs. CleverPet is a device that will entertain, train and reward your dog while you are not home, showing that dogs can be gamers too.
CleverPet was introduced to the online fundraising website Kickstarter just 23 days ago, and has already raised close to $100,000. There are almost 700 people backing the project, which goes to show that Trottier and Knudsen are not the only ones that using interactive games to keep a dog happy is a great idea.
These clever inventors did their homework, too. They researched what kind of buttons, if any, dogs would be likely to press. They found that man’s furry best friends did not care much for hard plastic devices, so CleverPet instead features rubber touch pads. It was designed to prevent tipping and also does not contain any parts that would make it more of a chew toy than a game console.
The idea for this game came about because dogs get lonely. In their video on Kickstarter, the founders explain that when a dog looks his or her owner in the eyes, all they really want to do is understand. When a master is not happy or simply not around, dogs are not happy. CleverPet is a dog entertainment tool that not only curbs the depression and anxiety some dogs get when left alone for long periods of time, but it also teaches them some basic reinforcement for good behavior by dispensing treats.
A game that dispenses treats—it would be nice if there were games for humans that could boast that feature. Knudsen explains that the CleverPet device has three large touch-pad buttons that perform a variety of functions that increase in complexity as the dog uses it and learns. The console also features a moveable tray that dispenses kibble as a reward, at first spontaneously. Eventually through conditioning, the dog learns that touching certain buttons and performing certain behaviors will earn them a treat.
“It starts out really easy,” says Knudsen. “Once they get really good at that we make it so they have to press a specific button that we’ve indicated with a light or sound.”
This new toy that proudly celebrates the idea that dogs can be gamers too also incorporates sounds of the owner’s voice, so the dog can not only play along and master new challenges, but also be comforted by taking directives from a person they already know and love.
Owners can monitor their pooch’s progress too. CleverPet will be able to connect to Wi-Fi and Android so that users can download an app that allows them to track the dog’s activity to see when and how they are improving their learning and behavior. Depending on what they see, owners can make tweaks to the CleverPet software so that the challenges are rolling out at the appropriate pace for the dog.
Knudsen stated that he and Trottier have an initial goal of raising $100,000 by the beginning of June, which will likely happen in a much shorter amount of time. When CleverPet goes on the market, Knudsen estimates that each game console will go for about $279. Kickstarter donations will not go unnoticed, though. Knudsen also stated that any contributor that kicks in $159 or more is entitled to a unit from the first production run estimated to begin in early 2015.
CleverPet is expected to prove that dogs can be man’s best friend and gamers too. The Kickstarter video below shows people how it works.
By Erica Salcuni