It's a well-known fact that dogs can be conversation starters that help break the ice with people their owners meet. Taking the notion a step further, a new collar tag from Boston-based SNIF Labs lets pet owners forge new connections with fellow dog-walkers, both online and off.
Available in a range of colours and patterns, the SNIF Tag is a small RFID device that attaches to a dog's collar and records his or her daily movements and social encounters. On the social side, each SNIF Tag emits a unique signal that is sensed by the SNIF Tags worn by other dogs. When Fido meets such tag-bearing playmates during a jaunt to the park, his collar stores that information and later uploads it automatically into the accompanying base station, which stays plugged into the owner's PC at home.
The dog's owner can then log in to view the profiles of the owners of those other dogs and decide if they want to connect online as well. In addition to monitoring social interactions, the SNIF Tag also uses an accelerometer and motion-analysis software to record a pet's activity. Owners can monitor the dog's movements in real time while he's home but they're at work, for example; alternatively, when Fido is out with the walker, information on his activities will be automatically uploaded when he returns. Activity levels can be reviewed by the hour, day or month, and owners can compare them with those of the other SNIF Tag-wearing dogs in the neighbourhood.
As ever the Americans are one step ahead and we'll probably pick up on this next year but it could be big and you saw it here first!