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Gadget Freak Case #227: Wearable Computer Keeps Tabs on Fido & Kitty
10/5/2012

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Pete Cross' cat Elmo shows off the PetInspect, a data-logger and wireless communications device that lets you discover what environment your pet experiences and how it behaves while you're not around.
Pete Cross' cat Elmo shows off the PetInspect, a data-logger and wireless communications device that lets you discover what environment your pet experiences and how it behaves while you're not around.

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armorris
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What a gadget!
armorris   10/5/2012 9:07:01 AM
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What a sophisticated gadget. Extremely well documented with a 504 page pdf file. A huge amount of work went into this. How long did it take Mr. Cross to develop this?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: What a gadget!
Rob Spiegel   10/5/2012 11:11:07 AM
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Yes, Andrew, I was also impressed by the complexity of this gadget. As for the pdf, we actually asked for a shorter version. In the end the production folks decided they could post the entire novel-length code.

naperlou
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Re: What a gadget!
naperlou   10/5/2012 11:30:23 AM
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Yes, it is a very cool gadget.  The only thing I can say is that our cats would not wear it.  They have destroyed all the collars we have gotten them.  We also don't board the cats.  They are easy to care for and we can get neighbors to come over and feed them.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: What a gadget!
Rob Spiegel   10/5/2012 2:02:58 PM
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Yes, I can understand what you're saying about cats, Naperlou. Over the years, my dogs have been fine with collars, but I've never even tried to get one of my cats to wear a collar. It will be interesting to hear what our gadget maker says about this.

pete.cross
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Iron
How long did it take? A year
pete.cross   10/5/2012 4:23:19 PM
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This all started out as a year-long Master of Philosophy thesis at The University of Waikato.

That project was about putting it  _inside_  a cow !!

See http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378517304002911 for details...

pete.cross
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Iron
Re: What a gadget!
pete.cross   10/5/2012 4:30:02 PM
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If you want your cat to wear a collar, then it's best to start with them when they are young.  They just expect that to be normal from then on.

If you try anything like this at home, then please do use a proper collar bought from a pet store.  Cats can be strangled in the event they get it hooked up on a branch.  That's extremely rare and can be avoided entirely by buying one designed to break when that happens.  I just bought a cheap flea collar for this project.  It is designed to expand and break under the weight of the cat.

Depends on how adventurous your cat is!

Dave Palmer
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Platinum
Re: How long did it take? A year
Dave Palmer   10/5/2012 5:20:31 PM
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@pete.cross: That's a very interesting master's thesis ("Control, communication and monitoring of intravaginal drug delivery in dairy cows").  I'd imagine that getting a cat to wear a collar is very simple in comparison.  

Charles Murray
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Successful product
Charles Murray   10/5/2012 5:36:36 PM
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I'd bet money this could be a successful product. Dog and cat owners now spend fairly large amounts of money for shots and veterinary bills. This cost of this product might be small by comparison.   

pete.cross
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Iron
Re: Successful product
pete.cross   10/5/2012 11:24:04 PM
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I agree Charles:  this would be a great product.  

  - It could automatically upload to a website for comparison of different types of activity across pets and over time.  

  - The pets would effectively be blogging about themselves.   We could call it Furry-Face-Book  ;-)

  -  Boarding catteries and kennels could put them on their guests, renting the web-monitoring as an extra service.

If we take the pressure sensor out, and change some of the parts, the total BOM cost is $22, quantity 10K.

Cadman-LT
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Platinum
Re: Successful product
Cadman-LT   10/8/2012 10:29:43 AM
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I'd buy one for my cat!

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