Man’s best friend may be getting a new best friend — and it’s AI?

Companion is a smart device billing itself as “your dog’s automated, always-available playmate.”

As if we needed proof that dog owners would do anything for their precious pups, the numbers back them up.

dog and bones

In a recent study from Ally Financial, pet parents proved their monetary commitment:

  • 46% claimed to spend the same — or more — on their pets as they do on their actual human children.
  • 51% said they’d take on debt to care for their pets’ health.
  • 53% reported a willingness to spend less on themselves to better provide for their pets.

So it’s no wonder San Francisco-based startup Companion is confident its $49/mo. doggie au pair of a device will dispense ample treats for its investors.

What is it?

Companion is a smart device designed to serve as a playmate (and nanny, and maybe kind of a veterinarian?) for dogs.

  • The stationary box features an onboard computer, AI software, and a camera.
  • Owners can monitor their dog via app, while Companion employs machine learning to track dogs’ physical and emotional health through movement and routine.
  • Stimulation and entertainment are offered through interactive games and obedience practice.
  • And your dog is gonna need to sit — sit! — before hearing this feature: Companion has an automated treat dispenser.

Who’s a good robot? Companion wants to be

We’ll find out whether it actually is, eventually. Pre-orders recently opened, with first shipments expected to go out in summer 2024.

And, per Axios, enough cats have been enamored with the device that Companion hopes to eventually launch a “feline-oriented” product.

One caveat: None of the dogs who’ve tested Companion are as perfect as your dog, who is inarguably the best dog in the world.

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Topics: Ai Pets

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