Patent Of the month – A dog’s best friend

No one likes to leave their pets unattended and unoccupied, but unfortunately daily life sometimes gets in the way. However, thanks to this ingenious pet interaction device from inventor Nicky Shaw, your dog never needs to feel lonely again.

As described in the recently-granted UK patent, GB2512674, this pet interaction device has many tricks up its sleeve to keep your dog entertained.

The device provides two-way communication with a gadget, such as a smartphone or computer, allowing the owner to stay in touch with their pet when on the move or at work. Whilst phoning your pet might seem a somewhat unusual thing to do, this concept takes this idea one step further by providing combined audio and visual interaction so that you can enjoy face time with your dog.

Although this may simply seem like a fun way of staying in touch, the device can also help to prevent pet anxiety and enable owners to monitor for behavioural problems. The device could also help owners to train their pet by allowing vocal commands to be repeated throughout the day and rewards to be dispensed for good behaviour.

Whilst rewards may be as simple as a vocal "good boy", the device also includes a dispenser, which can be programmed to deposit rewards such as toys and treats.

As well as allowing you to keep an eye on your pet, the device also allows your pet to check up on you. This two-way communication is activated by a sensor, for example by detecting when your pet is close to the device, or by a voice ("woof") command. If you have more than one pet, the device can even be programmed to interact with one and not the other if necessary.

The device may be programmed to initiate calls at scheduled intervals, capture video, and play recorded messages at different points throughout the day – providing some much-needed reassurance while you are away.

For the innovator, this is a great example of combining a number of well-known features and tailoring them to solve a specific problem for pet owners. In securing patent protection, the inventor will benefit from a 20-year period of exclusivity during which to market its product.

Whilst it can't replace physical contact with man's best friend, this device could be just what is needed to keep your pet content throughout the day.