If you're the type of person who set up an Instagram account for your pet as soon as you bought a smartphone, you'll be happy to know that Fido or Fluffy can now take their own selfies.
Essentially a combination food dispenser/video camera, PetBot detects whenever your pet wanders near the camera and makes a noise—your recorded voice or a pre-set sound—to lure them toward the screen. Once your pet is close, facial recognition software confirms her presence and the device begins taking pictures or recording video clips (it can also live stream). Images or movies of her adorable mug are then sent to your cell phone. And yes, you can share the adorable results with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.
To ensure that your cat or dog becomes a selfie addict, PetBot uses classic conditioning, awarding animals with a treat once they're done being a social media star. (There's no need to worry about overfeeding them; PetBot allots only a controlled number of treats.) Another unique PetBot feature is "bark recognition," which lets you know whether your dog is distressed or happy through her woofs and howls.
Misko Dzamba, a Canadian computer scientist, was inspired to make PetBot after he created an AI-enabled device to watch his dog in his absence. Now, Dzamba and his partners have launched an Indiegogo campaign to bring PetBot to the masses. If the campaign reaches its funding goal of $80,000 the machine will retail for $200. However, "Super Early Bird" versions of PetBot, on sale for $189, have already sold out.