Thursday, March 16, 2017

Dog Tech: Smart Bowls

Smart bowls are the wave of the future when it comes to feeding or watering your pet. Some allow you to carefully monitor food and water intake. Others help you schedule feedings even when you aren't home. There's a lot of variety in this branch of the emergent world of pet tech. Let's take a look!

Obe ProBowl
No, not a bowl that makes your dog smart!

This is a dishwasher-safe bowl that connects to a smart base. The base works with a smartphone app that allows you to monitor your dog or cat's habits. Portion control is built in, there's an indicator that changes color when you've added just the right amount of food. It changes to a different color after your pet has eaten, so they can't convince anyone else in the household that they haven't been fed. Obe's ProBowl app will send alerts if your pet's eating or drinking habits change, as this can indicate a health problem. ProBowl's app will also somehow figure out if you are out of food, and order more on its own from Amazon. We have a printer at work that orders its own ink when it's about to run out. This feels like that only maybe a little creepier. ProBwl is currently in pre-order stage, with a projected shipping date of spring 2017. It will set you back about $100.

Eyenimal Intelligent Pet Bowl

This smart bowl is basically a food scale with a dog bowl attached, which is still pretty cool. Portion control is a huge part of keeping pets healthy, and it's really easy to add a heaping scoop of food rather than a level scoop, and end up packing in extra calories. Weighing pet food is definitely the most accurate way to go. The price on this one isn't bad, just $30.

PetNet Smartbowl and Smartfeeder

PetNet's Smartbowl is another scale for portion control, this time in a neat modern-looking square for $50. Their Smartfeeder is the real deal, though. It works with a smartphone app to schedule feedings, and lets you feed remotely and do custom portions for every meal. It also monitors your pet's intake. This device costs $150, but it's already on the market. I really like that it uses a stainless steel bowl insert, I'm not a fan of plastic bowls.

Hoison Pet Care Robot

This one is part interactive webcam, part automatic feeder. It has an HD camera and two-way audio. You can set a predetermined feeding schedule, or feed remotely. If you lose connection, the robot will automatically feed your pet at the preset time. It even has an internal power source, so your pet will still be fed in the event of a power failure or general apocalypse. This robot is $130, and already available for purchase.


Ok, this one's actually about making your dog smart. It's like a videogame for dogs. It opens to reveal their meal (in a stainless steel bowl!) when they correctly nose the lit touchpads. The game gets more difficult as they learn to touch only the lit pads. Of course, CleverPet also has a smartphone app that allows you to monitor what your dog is up to. I'll be honest, this thing is so freaking awesome it makes me wish I left my dogs at home now and then so I could have an excuse to get one for them! Alas, the girls will have to settle for herding sheep at work with me insteadof playing video games. This masterpiece of dog technology costs $300, about the same as I've paid for a videogame consol in the past. Seems fair.

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