Understanding The Health Of Your Pet

Dog & Cat Health Monitoring Devices

 
 

The Challenge

Healthy living is a growing trend. Nowadays, many people take the time to ensure they are eating quality food and getting enough exercise. For some individuals and families this health consciousness extends to their pet. Bases on this and the growth of the wearable health device market at the time, Idea Couture was tasked by Purina to develop a suite of prototype devices that would monitor the health of pet dogs and cats. This was a preliminary research project designed to determine whether pet wearables were viable and added value to the user.

 

 
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I was put in charge of developing the industrial designs for the devices. Along with a group of engineers, the team brought these ideas to life through a comprehensive industrial design and engineering process, working to meet a range of technical and performance requirements along the way.

 

 
 

 

The Dog System

The suite of devices for dogs are designed to monitor physical activity, food and water intake, as well as weight. Data collected by the devices is sent to a mobile app where the user can monitor the status of their pet. Physical activity is monitored by a device placed on the dogs collar. This device also monitors UV exposure and GPS location. Food and water intake is monitored by a scale that accommodates the pets current feeding bowls. Another scale for weight can be placed under a dog’s bed or used on its own.

 

 
 First conceptual prototype made from tape.
 

 

The Cat System

The cat devices are much simpler than the dog system. It consists of two devices, one on the litter box and the other on the cat’s collar. This system is designed to monitor the frequency of litter box use. When the cat is near the litter box, The collar device simply triggers the litter box device to monitor for vibrations. These vibrations can be used to determine how often and how long the cat uses the litter and tell the difference between urine and feces.

 

Use Cases

  • The dog system is designed to easily make sure that your pet is eating enough, getting the right amount of exercise, and healthy overall. Keeping them healthy.  The system could also be used to monitor pets with poor health, and inform the owner when things deteriorate or improve.

  • The cat system is designed around the litterbox because the most common health issue for cats is urinary infections. Monitoring the frequency of litterbox use would allow for early detection of urinary problems and allow for quick treatment.

 

 
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The Outcome

After several iterations and overcoming software, engineering and manufacturing hurdles, the team at Idea Couture delivered a functioning testbed system to Purina. 100 test units were manufactured overseas and sent out to Purina employees for testing. Purina and Idea Couture would use the data collected during this trial period to determine the value and viability of the concept and search for improvement and insight opportunities. All of which would potentially lead to the second phase of the project, develop a consumer product.

Idea Couture was also commissioned to develop mocks of what potential consumer versions of the devices might look like (seen below).