Canadian university students are leveraging 3D printing technology to build the PetBot, a box-like machine that allows pet owners to monitor their furry family from afar and remotely dispense treats.
The project is seeking $20,000 in funds on Kickstarter, of which it has raised $6,000 so far. And while some unnecessarily snarky “journalists” such as as Rebecca Grant from VentureBeat have slammed the PetBot as “ridiculous,” “crazy,” and “creepy,” the project’s founders appear confidently passionate in their work and their crowdfunding backers appear genuinely enthusiastic about the product, which costs $150 and up.
“Most people with pets find themselves away from their furry companions while living hectic lives,” the founders explain. “PetBot is a unique technology that allows you to interact with your pet while at work, in meetings, making overtime, commuting, or having an after-work drink. With PetBot you can feed, reward, and connect with your pet anywhere and anytime.”
In Canada, pets are a $6.5 billion industry. In the US, that number swells to $55 billion.
PetBot was created by Misko Dzamba, a Master’s student in Computational Biology at the University of Toronto; Chris Semoff, an artist and student at University of Toronto; Simon Sitwell, a software developer based in Ottawa; Bobby Chana, an engineer; and Atos, Misko’s dog and lead product tester.
“PetBot evolved out of the common worry that owners have over the welfare of their pet while away from home,” the project’s Kickstarter page reads. “We believe that PetBot is the best product currently available for remote pet-human relations. … There is nothing more powerful than the connection a pet has with their owner, and we want to help you connect with yours.”