Tucked among the booths at CES is a small company called Kyon. It wants to revolutionise the pet collar business by offering an innovation that, among other things, tells you what your pet is feeling. This is bullshit and it must be stopped.
The Guardian stumbled on the smart collar while making the rounds and included it in a roundup of gadgets that, ya know, are maybe kind of stupid. Let me tell you, this one is definitely stupid.
The collar handles a lot of different tasks, allegedly. According to the company’s website, it tracks your pet with GPS, looks cool, stops barking with ultrasound, knows when pets are hot or cold, breaks up fights, and has a water sensor to let you know if your pet is drowning.
Some of that is just fine (GPS tracking), some of it is dubious (looks cool) and some of it is an outrageous abomination. How does this thing know what a dog is feeling? Well, according to Kyon, it uses “unique algorithms” to interpret your pet’s feelings. Gotcha. Here’s a helpful video:
In that example, office guy checks the app while he works and finds out that his dog is experiencing “normal activity” while it tears his shit up. Nice. Good to know. When the dog is sleeping, office guy gets a message that his dog is experiencing “irregular low activity.” Maybe the dog’s depressed. Maybe not. But this knowledge isn’t going to get those TPS reports filed any quicker.
Here’s how to know this company is likely full of shit: Nick Christakis, an international sales associate at Kyon tells the Guardian that his cat Nicholas has enjoyed wearing the collar. Lies! No cat has ever enjoyed wearing a collar.
Outside of getting cryptic alerts about your pet’s mood while you’re away, the collar also displays messages like “moody” and “happy.” So, while you’re looking at your dog bouncing off the walls and getting its ball because you just got home, you’ll also see a helpful message that says, “happy.”
Don’t tell me what my dog is feeling. If he’s happy, I’ll know. If he’s moody, I want to ask myself, “what’s going on with him” not “oh he’s moody forget about it.” This collar will ruin your interpretations of your dogs delightfully mysterious behaviour. My relationship with my dog’s emotions is not something that Silicon Valley needs to disrupt, thank you.
Here’s a dog enjoying the Kyon Pet Tracker: