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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pet Owners Rejoice: FitBark is Bringing Wearable Tech to Dogs

Tech startup FitBark is taking pre-orders for its revolutionary new device: a collar that tracks your dog’s health. Operating very much like fitness trackers for people, the FitBark is no larger than an ordinary dog tag and available in five fun colories. It is placed around your dog’s neck to track your dog’s general health and activity levels.

What Does FitBark Do?
Just as with a human fitness tracker, FitBark tracks your dog’s daily exercise. This data is then sent to your smartphone, where you’ll be able to see if there are any irregularities. You can even set goals for things that you want to do with your pet, such as walking your pet, sleeping with your pet or just playing. FitBark also tracks sleep and “gamifies” the entire process by giving your pampered pooch points every time he or she meets their goals. The FitBark will retail for $69.00, and also comes with an optional FitBark Wi-Fi Base Station, so that it can sync with your phone without having to be connected to a device.

But Is It Useful?
One thing that veterinarians often stress is the fact that it can be difficult to determine when a dog is sick. Something as simple as sleeping more than usual or not walking around as much could be a sign of something seriously wrong – but if a pet owner is away all day, they may not notice warning signs until it is too late. The FitBark is an excellent way for pet owners to take control of their pet’s health and make sure that they are getting enough exercise, sleep and stimulation. That being said, the product does not have an extensive list of features: it basically just does what it says on the tin.

Are There Potential Challenges?
No one can say how well the FitBark product will perform on launch, but there are some inherent problems with placing a tech product on an animal such as a dog. For a start, dogs play rather aggressively—and they will often get into water. A human health and exercise tracker would likely not stand up to the abuse that a dog would put it through, so this item of tech will need to be incredibly durable if it is to last.
Of course, FitBark is still only available for pre-order, so it’s impossible to say whether the actual product will be successful. There are many challenges to creating a wearable tech product for pets, but if this product does become popular, it may create a small industry niche unto itself.

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