When I’m running from event to event at the Consumer Electronics Show, it’s tough to ellicit an emotional response from me. I’m concerned with the clock, and making sure I see as much as I can before the day is over. But this product caught my eye and captured my heart from the moment I saw it.
It’s called Cleverpet, and it’s a smart toy for dogs, designed to keep their idle paws busy while you’re away from home. The concept starts with a simple truth: A busy dog is a happy dog. Your dog is less likely to be distraught or destructive while you’re out if they have something productive to do, and playing games to earn their breakfast is a great way to keep them occupied.
The games start simple: Touch the sensitive pads on the front of the device with your paw, and a piece of dry dog food pops out. Once they’re hip to that trick, they’re on to the next level: Now touching only the pads that light up will reward them with food. As they get smarter, they graduate to different games that challenge them: You can even record yourself saying things like “left!” and “right!” and teach them directional commands. You see all their progress on an app so you can brag to your friends as your dog becomes Mensa material.
The Cleverpet team is a mashup of neuroscientists, dog trainers, and hardware designers, so it’s as sleek as it is smart. What I love about it most is that it validates what I know to be true: That we all deserve to have purpose in our day, and that having work to do is key to feeling happy and well-adjusted. Whether you’re furry or not.
Cleverpet will be available in 2016, but no release date has been published yet. For more information, visit their website.