The Future of Smart Homes for Pets


I’m happy to let all the pet owners out there know that there are some smart minds applying their gifts to smart technology that benefits pets and their owners. There is a new Indiegogo campaign for a product called PlayDate, which is an interactive camera that can be used as a toy to only monitor your pet, but also to play with them while you’re gone. The campaign, inspired by the co-owner’s rescue dog (awwwwwww) sought to collect about $60K as its goal, and at time of press they had already exceeded that goal by 207%, with a month still left.

What sets PlayDate apart from other pet cameras is that the camera is encased inside of a ball. Pet owners can control the ball remotely, from anywhere, as long as they are connected to WiFi. You can customize your smart dog or cat toy by choosing your own outer shell case for your PlayDate. Here are some of the other features of the PlayDate:

  • Squeak Whenever. What good is a pet toy that doesn’t squeak? Don’t worry, the co-founders of PlayDate already thought about that, and they built in a squeaker feature so that you can really get your pet’s attention.
  • Hear and Talk. While it would still be fun to control the ball and watch your pet without any audio, it definitely makes it more fun. There is a microphone and speaker built into the product, so you can hear your pet’s reaction to the ball, and you can also call to them. OK, but just because you can do that anywhere, you may want to consider waiting until you are in private to start talking to your phone.
  • Take Pictures and Record Videos. OMG your pet did something cute and you want to remember it forever! And you can with the photo and video capture feature on the PlayDate.

The Indiegogo campaign goal of $60K is a flexible goal, and other product features are being promised as new goals are met. Here’s what we know so far:

When they hit $100K, which is $40K over their goal, they listed that PlayDate users will be able to customize their squeaker.

When they hit $200K, which is $130K over their goal, they listed that there will be an auto-play feature. I’m not sure what this means yet, since I didn’t find any information on it, but it sounds awesome.

There are two “to be announced” features that could be launched when another milestone is reached. Those milestones are listed, so I don’t know what we’re working toward here, but I’m interested enough to keep an eye on the campaign.

PlayDate donation levels are still open, so we can still see some additional features announced. For those that have already supported the campaign, they are expecting to see their PlayDate ball cameras ship in just about enough time to arrive for Christmas. I wonder if the ball will fit inside of my pup’s stocking…

Photo by: PlayDate

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Julie is totally technology driven. She is an early adapter, getting the newest devices first and loves seeing how they work. She is the first one called when her friends need help setting up networks, new computer systems, printers and cool home automation devices. She loves being the token "dork" in her group of friends.