Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

David Zax

A View from David Zax

The Data-Driven Dog

Combating canine complaints with a cloud-connected collar.

  • May 18, 2012

Soon, your dog will be in the cloud.

That’s not a reminder of the fact that all dogs go to heaven. Rather, it’s simply a technological inevitability. As pet owners become more and more interested in helicopter parenting their dogs and cats, expect to see more announcements like this one from Fujitsu, which is working on a smart dog collar that’ll track your dog’s movements with a cloud-connected device.

“Starting in the second half of 2012,” says Fujitsu, “the company will begin offering a new cloud service to provide pet health management support using sensor data collected from the device.” Fujitsu has been demonstrating the device at a Tokyo forum yesterday and today.

This is as much about helicopter parenting as it is about the data-driven life. It turns out that pets, like people, are increasingly living sedentary lifestyles, and are facing the same scourge of obesity and diabetes we find in their human owners. How do you make sure your dog’s getting sufficient exercise? With a cloud-connected dog collar, of course.

Fujitsu says the device is “compact, lightweight, and requires very little power,” and thus can be worn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On top of being a doggie pedometer analyzing your pet’s movements, the device can also record signs of shivering and external temperature–other indications of your pet’s health.

Fujitsu says the data can be transferred from the device using “FeliCa” technology, which is a common Sony-developed RFID smart card system in Japan.  Data can be viewed on a smart phone, computer, or uploaded to the cloud for storage. Online, a website can help render the data visually in graph form, to help you parse just how Fido’s doing, and whether he’s met the various weight-loss goals you may have set for him.

A commenter on The Verge says of the device, “Shut up and take my money.” But I’m a tad skeptical. Who is obsessed enough with their dog’s health to want step-by-step data on the subject, yet hands-off enough that they can’t be assured to take their dog for regular walks or runs to prevent the lifestyle diseases in question? Is the device really for greyhound racers, for whom exact metrics on movement, stamina, and the like might translate into profits? Or is it for data junkies and fitness nuts who have always lamented that their dog can’t benefit from Nike Plus like they do?

Couldn't make it to EmTech Next to meet experts in AI, Robotics and the Economy?

Go behind the scenes and check out our video
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.