Pet owners now need no longer guess what's on the mind of their beloved pet. A small wearable developed by U.S. startup DogStar Life promises to translate the language of the dog's tail to be understood by humans. TailTalk works by using an accelerometer and a gyroscope that are inside of the small device that sits on the tail, and one algorithm that translates the data into an emotional state. “We believe by understanding your dog's emotions, you can make decisions for them that will dramatically improve their quality of life”, Mike Karp, COO of DogStar Life, explained to Metro.
Q: Why would someone want to monitor their pet's emotions?
Pet parents are always seeking new ways to connect with their dog. We believe by understanding your dog's emotions, you can make decisions for them that will dramatically improve their quality of life. For example, it may not be a big deal for you to change who walks your dog everyday, but that could change the mood for the dog for the entire day. Once you know what makes your dog happy, then you can do more of that.
Q: What inspired you to develop TailTalk?
My co-founder and I met in graduate school at Cornell Tech, and immediately discussed ideas for starting a business. Yannis' love of wearables, from his experience at Verizon Wireless, and my love of dogs combined into a dog wearable business. We didn't discover the idea of understanding emotions until after talking to many pet parents, and running countless surveys.
Q: How is it possible to know canine emotion through monitoring their tail movements?
It's based on academic research, mainly from Italy at the University of Bari Aldo Moro in the last two years. We are also partnered with our vets and researchers in the field, and plan to use the device to further the research of canine emotion and behavior. We are excited that the product can grow with new research as it comes out.
Q: How does TailTalk work?
An accelerometer and a gyroscope are inside of the small device that sits on the tail. The data from those sensors are combined with a sensor fusion algorithm that can identify tail position and movement. That tail data is then transmitted by bluetooth to the user's smartphone, and translated by a second algorithm to translate to emotional state. The emotional data is then presented to the user on an app, for both iOS and Android.
Q: Could TailTalk work for cats?
Unfortunately not. Cats are more complicated, and use their tails in different ways. Some day we hope to understand cats better, but for now we're just working on our canine friends.
Q: Could TailTalk do harm to a dog?
The safety of our furry customers is of our utmost concern. We have assembled a top notch team of veterinarians to provide guidance on what is safe, and what is not. We will continue to test, and over test, anything that interacts with our pups.
Q: When could TailTalk hit the market and at what price?
Right now, it's available for pre-order on Indiegogo for $99. We plan to ship those orders mid-next year, and then the soft launch would occur a bit after that.