Unveiled earlier this year at CES, the world’s biggest annual tech show, Laika is among a quickly rising number of robots relying on artificial intelligence that are emerging to take care of our furry friends. The success of these machines is drawing on a rapidly growing pet products market and technologies that didn’t exist a decade ago. These robots aren’t a silver bullet fix – they can’t replace human love. But they’re poised to make pet care much easier for owners juggling their work, families and life.
Just in the past two years, at least six firms have launched robots designed to automatically pick up pet poop while you have breakfast and read the newspaper. Some among them, like Flash Robotics’ Beetl and Poop-ha from West Paw Design, which “scoops so you don’t have to stoop,” rely on thermal technology that detects poop. An automated system then picks it up. Other robots like Pooch Power Shovel work on vacuum-based suction. For cats, there’s also Litter-Robot, which detects when the cat has left the box after pooping and then cleans it out and throws the waste into a separate space, reducing the smell. They also keep track of the cat’s visits to the litter box every day — and update you via a phone app.
But if you think this is just some shitshow, think again. This past January at CES, the firm Petrics exhibited a “smart bed” that keeps track of how much time your pet spends lazing about. It’s an activity tracker and alerts you when the pet needs to go out or take a walk. The temperature of these “smart beds” changes depending on whether it’s time for the pet to snooze or stay alert.
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