TailTalk: Mood-Monitoring Pet Tech
New York-based start-up DogStar has designed a smart device to help dog owners better understand their pets' emotions by monitoring and explaining tail movement.
Once TailTalk is attached around the base of a dog's tail, the unobtrusive sensor captures wagging motion and records this in the DogStar app. This information is translated into a diary showing how the dog feels throughout the day, using canine neuroscience research from the University of Bari in Italy.
The action of tail wagging is a key social cue for dogs and reveals much about their mood. For example, left wagging indicates negative feelings of aggression or anxiety, whereas right wagging represents positive feelings of happiness or excitement. Along with delivering statistics on mood, the app also allows users to organise and track their pet's events and form online communities with other dog owners.
While DogStar isn't the first wearable designed for dogs, it is the first to track their emotions. The product is currently raising money on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo and will launch in the US in October 2016, at a retail price of $90.
Pet owners are seeking tech solutions that help them look after their animals: a quarter of US consumers are interested in devices that track their pet's movements and send them data via a smartphone app, according to a May 2015 Mintel report.