Pet owners review revolutionary PetSnaps Camera-Collar.
Ever wish you could ask your kitty where she slopes off to all those weekday afternoons? Or that you could bring your puppy on dinner dates? Ever considered installing a webcam in your living room, just to watch your pet sleep while you’re out? Do you have photos of your pet on your desk, perhaps covering up pics of your vacation with your significant other? Is your pet your significant other? If you answered yes to any of the above, then look no further: the PetSnaps Camera-Collar has swooped in to close the distance between you and your pet.
Snapchat has become a regular staple of modern communication. With a few clicks and swipes, you can share stories, video-call your friends and watch live news. Facebook and Instagram had their heyday, and now trends are shifting Snap-ward.
When Snapchat originally launched in 2011, it was called Picaboo — a name given by one of its founders, Evan Spiegel, who came up with the app idea for a class project at Stanford. Over the coming years, the name changed to Snapchat and new features were rolled out on a regular basis. Before long Snapchat had become a household name, up there with the top dogs of social media. The impermanence of the photos and videos (once opened, they expire within seconds) appealed to people’s sense of play, encouraging its use as an alternative to texting rather than a full-blown multiplatform media app.
If there was one thing Snapchat had missed, though, it was clearly the lack of pet functionality. In any society committed to equality, this is surely an egregious oversight. Yeah, BarkBuddy (Tinder for pets) got the ball rolling, but now BarknWoof Inc., the startup tech firm that wowed Kickstarter, has created the PetSnaps Camera-Collar, designed specifically to allow pets to “Snap” their most important moments. The times, they are a changin’. Alice Paul and co. got women the vote, MLK fought racial segregation, and gay marriage was recently and finally legalized… Now guess what: we have social media for pooches, too. And if that isn’t a step toward true equal op-paw-tunity, I don’t know what is.
Here’s how it works:
PetSnaps realized the obvious difficulty facing our four-pawed friends was their lack of opposable thumbs. Like, how the hell was a cat supposed to hold a phone? Well, thanks to the genius of the selfie stick, there were options to be explored — if you could just integrate one into a collar, you’d overcome the first obstacle. All that remained was to figure out how to actually take the picture. But that’s where voice control — or, should I say, “woof control” — comes in. With the owner’s help for the initial setup, cats and dogs can have the unique character of their barks, meows and purrs registered, stored and recognized by their smartphones or tablets. And, just like that, hands-free pet photography was born, literally. All hail the PetSnaps Camera-Collar.
What people are saying:
BarknWoof Inc. COO Ron Fast says the new product really is “the logical extension of where social media’s been headed since day one. The true task of communication technologies,” he explained at a press conference for the launch, has always been “bringing the world together. From the written letter to the cellphone, these inventions are the result of human ingenuity and the desire to be closer, whatever the geographic distance, to your fellow man. Art and media share this quality: they each seek to invigorate dialogue and empathy. That’s what the PetSnaps Camera-Collar intends to achieve between man and beast.”
Some prototypes have been sent out to consumers for feedback. The founder of On the Wings of Angels Rescue, Helen Rich, was approached to trial the collars and was impressed by how easy they made staying in touch with her animals when she was away. “It’s never been so straightforward to check in on them when I have to run errands,” she told us. “And when it’s time to go to the vet, I simply show them a picture of their favorite treat and catnip toy in the cat carrier, and then I don’t have to go crawling under the bed to snatch them.”
One gentleman in New York, who asked to remain anonymous, remarked: “I finally understand how Clifford got so big — all my roommates have been feeding him after I’ve already fed him his lunch. Some of them prepare him gourmet meals. I’ve never even heard of some of the delicacies he snaps. Honestly, I feel slightly betrayed. I thought he just didn’t like my cooking…”
Whenever I got home from work, I always wondered why the sink was turned on and running. With the help of PetSnaps, now I know.
However, the general response to the PetSnaps Camera-Collar has been overwhelmingly positive. Live feeds dedicated to what are being called “pet-casts” are springing up where animals can broadcast to their fans entirely independently of their “owners.” According to PetSnaps’ in-house bureau of statistics, cats and dogs are apparently competing for the most views. Yet media commentators predict increasing numbers of collaborative broadcasts over the next few months. These are small but significant steps, perhaps, to easing centuries-long canine-feline hostilities.
PetSnaps also urges pet owners to treat this as a unique opportunity to see the world from their pets’ perspectives and vice versa. “I used to feel unhappy about what seemed like an imbalance in our relationship. I would go out and earn our keep, while Scooby would just laze around at home,” one product reviewer informed us, “but thanks to the PetSnaps Camera-Collar, now I know he actually leads a very busy and demanding life. I had no idea whatsoever about all the work he’s been doing in the private detective industry.”
Another reviewer explained how the PetSnaps Camera-Collar has helped with issues of jealousy. Her nine-year-old dachshund, Jack, could finally rest assured that, when she left the house without him, she wasn’t just going off to the dog park with another pup; she was at this other strange place called “the office.” Jack had never visited her workplace. Until this point, as far as he was concerned, the world had been no more than the park, the garden and the grooming parlor.
There are other creases yet to be fully ironed out, too. One of the concerns raised in forums has been the possible consequence that this easy access to cameras will have on the image culture of the four-legged community. The proliferation of personal data across social media has repeatedly proven to impact users’ self-worth and perception of themselves in relation to others. Moreover, privacy is increasingly a thing of the past. PetSnaps encourages pet owners to support their pets as they wake up to the possibilities and pitfalls of a connected life.
And it’s not just pets that need emotional support through these radical social changes. Certain celebrities, who will remain nameless, have already begun to complain about the “stolen airtime” taken by their “unfairly cuter” furry friends. Some egos are being bruised easily by the quick-fire popularity of the new “kiddens” on the block.
That said, clearly these are exciting times. As history testifies, inventions like this one can totally change how people relate to one another and the world around them. As long as we keep our minds (and apps) open, this could prove to be an opportunity to experience life with another’s eyes — or an extra pair of legs.
The PetSnaps Camera-Collar will be available online only on April 1.