The last decade has seen more advancements in animal computer interaction (ACI) than ever before. Pet monitoring systems that allow us to talk to our dogs while away; automatic feeders that require a dog to perform a correct behavior to get a treat, even toys you can remotely control through your smart device so you play with your dog even when you are away.
Then there’s DogTV, a channel with programming specifically for dogs. This channel was created because we all know that some dogs like to watch TV. But maybe your TV-loving hound would like to do more than just passive watching. Maybe they would enjoy channel surfing as well, but they just can’t work the remote (though many have tried much to their owner’s dismay).
One company, Wagg pet food, has stepped up to fix this problem by creating the world’s dog-safe remote control for the TV. Now your pup has control over the couch, the snacks, and what program you watch. Wagg said in a press release that they decided to develop the remote based on research they conducted which showed that the average dog watches more than nine hours of TV a week.
The first prototype photos have been released, and honestly it looks like a giant playmat for your dog. The device was made big enough for even a Dane’s paws to use comfortably. Other details include:
- Waterproof plastic
- Raised surfaces for anti-slip
- Yellow and blue colors, which dogs can see.
- Low-intensity squeaker
- A hole for an optional rope attachment, allowing your dog to move the remote easier.
The company worked with Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, PhD Researcher in Animal Computer Interaction Design at the University of Central Lancashire to create the prototype, which is currently in the testing phase. Rocky, the boxer in the pictures, is one of the lucky dogs who gets to try out the new doggy remote.
This may seem silly, but their research showed that “91 percent of owners admitted their pet regularly sits on the sofa and watches TV with them.” If so, then why not let them have control of the TV one in awhile?
Since they are still in test mode, the company was unable to answer our questions in regards to safety or pricing. After testing, the company is planning on approaching tech companies with bringing the products to market.
A representative for the company did tell iHeartDogs that they are aiming for a 2017 release date, but that is contingent on the outcome of the tests.
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