It's a dog's life: automated kennel lets hounds video chat with owners

Kennel that lets dogs surf web and 'chat' with owners among gadgets on display at home fair

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 April, 2014, 4:40am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 April, 2014, 4:40am

Pet-care companies are betting that dog owners will spend to let technology take care of their pooches.

An automated kennel that feeds and cleans up after dogs - and even provides them with internet capabilities - along with a football that feeds them while they play with it are among gadgets to go on show at the 29th annual Houseware Fair.

Kelvin Zhang, a director of Hong Kong Tesla Technology, will unveil a smaller prototype of the kennel - the final version of which will take the form of a double-decker bus the height of a human - at the fair on April 20.

"Our intelligent systems can provide a better living environment for pet dogs and will bring changes to the lives of humans and their pets," Zhang said. The company plans to launch the product next year but has yet to set a price.

In a temperature-controlled environment, the doghouse's canine inhabitants will be able to surf the net, play games and video chat with their owners.

Almost the only thing the kennel won't do is walk them.

A football-sized plastic feeding ball, known as the Foobler, will also be launched, aimed at stimulating the animals and improving their behaviour.

"This ball can train a dog to behave and will stimulate it. The harder it plays, the more food it is rewarded with," Rita Chung Wing-yin, marketing director of L'chic Pet Care Solutions, said of the Foobler.

The pet gadgets are among thousands of products lined up for the annual fair, which will run from April 20 to 23.

Some 2,000 exhibitors from 34 countries and regions will be involved, including newcomers Norway and Poland.

"I think the future of Hong Kong industry does not really only rely on driving efficiency. More importantly, we have stressed driving creativity and brand-building technology," Benjamin Chau Kai-leung, deputy executive director of fair organiser the Trade Development Council, said.

"Many of our manufacturers pay much more attention to brand building and product design as well as upgrading technology."

The show will also feature kitchenware and products for the environment, outdoor living and home technology.