Does your pet give you a forlorn look of abandonment that stirs an overwhelming sense of guilt in your heart and makes you feel like a complete a-hole every time you leave the house? More importantly does this typical bundle of canine or feline joy respond to the frustration and boredom of being left alone by pissing all over your $2,500 couch, strewing bacon-fat-soaked paper towels from the trash across your bed, or somehow eating an entire slat out of the hardwood floor? Before relegating your dog or cat to a crate, or resolving yourself to never leaving the house again, you might look into Petcube.
Petcube is an inconspicuous, 4" x 4" x 4" box that sits on a table or shelf and enables owners to watch, talk to, and play with their little precious using a smartphone and mobile app. With an anticipated purchase/shipping date of Fall 2013, Petcube aims to give both pet owners and pet lovers an opportunity to hang and interact with their dogs and cats (or bunny rabbits and pot-bellied pigs, I guess) while at work, on vacation, or in between Jager bombs at the bar.
Inside, Petcube houses a 162-degree wide angle camera capable of streaming 720p video for seeing what Brutus is up to, a low-intensity, pet-safe laser pointer on a movable platform for engaging with him, and a microphone and speakers for asking if he'd like you to bring him some Pad Thai from Bangkok Gardens and proposing he serve as the tie-break vote in your debate over whether Christian Bale could have also stuffed Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice and Mr. Mom.
Using smartphones and the mobile app, Petcube owners can both stay connected to their own pets remotely, as well as link to the Petcube network to give others access to their furry friends for interaction and playtime. Through the network, anyone who loves animals or wants a diversion can view public Petcubes and powwow with home-alone pets. Note: While this feature seems like a cool idea in the "It takes a village to raise a child" sense of community, it also puts a lot of trust in mankind not to log on and try to find ways to antagonize strangers' chihuahuas from afar.
Petcubes are made of aluminum and glass, and will come with customizable skins to suit personal aesthetics. If you're interested in owning one, put your promissory dollars where your mouth is and back Petcube's Kickstarter campaign through November 5, 2013.
Muchas danke to Laughing Squid.
November 2013 Update: Petcube exceeded its crowdfunding goal and is now available for direct purchase through the company's website--follow the link below.