WÜF-bringing man’s best friend into man’s new century
BY ON NOVEMBER 4, 2014
Anyone that knows me will know that I am a huge dog lover. I raised two amazing German Shepherds, that were my best friends between December 1997 and May 2012. I am and will always be a dog lover, I know certain animal rights groups will say that keeping big dogs is inhumane and not good for them. These people never met mine, they liked; imported beers, white wine, scrambled egg with salmon and of course pate. In fact I think they were better fed than me. But it’s so much more than that, dogs can not really survive away from their human families, they live in a symbiotic relationship with us, they are our dogs and we are their humans.
Humans have come blazing into the 21st century with our new ideas and new technologies but dogs have been left behind. Known as mans best friend, they love all the things we love including warm homes, good food and many more modern comforts. Its been revealed recently that they can watch modern HD televisions, so how else can we bring man’s best friend into man’s new world? WÜF may just have the answer to this problem.
To find out more we had the opportunity to interview Sean G. Kelly, the Co-Founder and CEO of WÜF.
What is WÜF?
With WÜF we are building the worlds smartest dog collar. So what does that entail?
1 – First it starts with GPS, if you lose your dog all you have to do is find your iPhone then find your dog and your dog is never lost again. It means no more lost dog signs ever again.
2 – Next is activity tracking. Instead of giving you charts and graphs about that activity we give you a simple metric for you to feed your dog everyday to keep them at a happy and healthy weight.
3 – Third is a two way audio that will let you talk to your dog from literally anywhere in the world and even hear them bark back. With bark detection and analysis we can alert you if your dog is barking aggressively or even crying so we can tell you, ‘hey, some things going on ‘, and give you tools to solve that.
So that’s all the hardware and interaction and it’s all based on a smart phone app launching on IOS. We have a whole content section, bite size training we like to call it. With this we can find better ways, as a dog owner, to be a better pet parent all through training and giving you new ideas and ways to interact with your dog. Not only training them but rewarding you for those things you do as a dog owner every single day.
Humans have had dogs with them for most of recorded history, do you see this as a way of bringing them along into the 21st century with their owners?
Yes that’s exactly right. We have been around with dogs what twenty, thirty thousand years domesticated and the tools we use haven’t changed since ancient Egypt, a leash and a collar. Now through WÜF we can bring them into this connected world we live in. We are taking quantified-self and now we are creating quantified-canine. We want dogs to live and interact in this whole connected world that we all do.
Through the internet we can have; connected dog feeders, connected tennis ball launchers, connected doggy door, the dog can now independently interact with all those things and with our hardware which is open sourced APISDK we are allowing other dog owners to develop on top of this. For instance come up with a game that you can play with your dog or even come up with an app. A great example is one guy wants to develop an app that lets him track when his dog has seizers, so he has developed seizer recognition. Now he has ways to not only detect the seizer but even soothe the dog and bring them out of the seizer. There is some fun and game elements but also some serious health aspects that we can solve by bringing dogs into the modern world.
So like Apple and Android the apps are very much for anyone and anyone can get involved and develop an app for a hole that they see in the market?
That’s right and that’s part of our whole platform play. We are selling at an affordable price point, we are going to MSRP at about $130 (US) which is basically just a no brainer even for the GPS alone. We are doing this because we want to be the platform that every body develops on. Just like the app system for iPhone took off we are going to build the hardware that’s going to last for several years. We don’t know what it’s going to create yet, because we aren’t the only smart dog owners and dog lovers out there, there’s lots of smart things that can be done to connect them into this world.
So what inspired you to create this product?
Unfortunately it’s a sad story that instigated this. I have grown up with dogs my whole life, we had the invisible fence and that worked really well to keep them contained. So I had an idea ‘what about a mobile invisible fence?’
One that goes anywhere my smart phone goes. So that was kind of the idea but what really inspired this was when my dog Roxy was out on a walk with my mum and she took off after a squirrel which was her favourite thing to do. Then it got dark, three to four hours later we are still looking for her till we got a call from a neighbour telling us that she had been hit and killed by a car. This seemed like something that was really avoidable, the technology was there but it wasn’t being used in the way I thought it should be. So I said ‘screw it, I’m going to build it myself!’
That’s exactly what I’ve done, we have boot strapped to this point and have taken on a little bit of funding also we are launching a Kickstarter at the end of November. It will be Cyber Monday, the beginning of the holiday season and it will make a great present for yourself or a friend.
First off sorry to hear about Roxy. I had something similar happen to my dog, fortunately she survived. But this product of yours would save so much time and so many lives. With Kickstarter launching at the end of the month what rewards will you have for potential backers?
Mostly it’s for pre-sales of the product but we will have a number of special price points and a lot of premium content. GPS, activity tracking and training will all come as a basic package but you can subscribe for premium content on a monthly basis. With our Kickstarter you can get full premium access for a year which is up to $250 in value, at the staandard price point. We are also going to have a colour – special WÜF orange that will only be available during the Kickstarter project. So for anyone who wants our signature colour then they will have to get it during our Kickstarter.
Anything else you want to say to our readers?
Yes it’s high time that we connect our dogs into this modern world and quantified canine is here to stay and man’s best friend deserves to interact with this whole modern world around us. Runaway dogs is just one of many problems that we can solve with WÜF the worlds smartest dog collar.
One final unimportant question for me,my favourite breed is German shepherds,from one dog lover to another what is your favourite breed?
I’m a big supporter of Pit Bulls and Pit Bull breeds. I like mixed Pit Bull and Labradors and also Staffordshire Terriors. However I did grow up with an Australian Shepherd dog and they are very loyal, smart and playful dogs so I like a dog that’s big and tough enough so that I can wrestle with it and play with it but not too big so I cant hold it at night.
For more information you can check out their web site here.
Editor in Chief: David
You can find me next at Web Summit 2014 (Dublin), SXSW 2015 (Austin, Texas) & Emerald City Comic Con 2015 (Seattle).