Oct. 3, 2013— -- There are a lot of gadgets out there for pet owners. From automatic ball launchers for games of fetch to collars that monitor every movement your pet makes, pet owners can experience techno-lust just as much as any rabid smartphone fan.
Enter Petcube, Inc., a business that's looking to bring pet care into the Wi-Fi age. CEO Yaroslav Azhnyuk said the idea started as kind of a joke, when company co-founder Alex Neskin was away for too long and said that his dog suffered from separation anxiety.
"After Alex invented the first Petcube, all his friends said they wanted the same thing," Azhnyuk told ABC News. "Now, we're looking for ways to improve pet owners' lives with technology."
The device itself looks like it came fresh out of the Apple store, complete with metal finish and rounded corners. It has a wide-angle camera along with a microphone and speakers, so Petcube owners can look at, listen to, and speak to their pets. But Azhnyuk said what sets Petcube apart from other pet monitors is its app. In addition to broadcasting the video feed of an owner's pet, the app also comes with a social network of sorts.
A Petcube owner can grant access of his or her pet to any number of other app users. In addition to accessing the video feed of the owner's pet, authorized users can also share photos and videos of the pet on Petcube's own social network, enabled through the app.
And yes, the app lets people commandeer Petcube's laser pointer to keep the cats and dogs entertained.
Azhnyuk isn't just looking to make Petcube a stand-alone object, but is working with other pet-centric companies to figure out how to integrate their devices into the app. He confirmed that Petcube is looking to work with Sphero, a toy manufacturer, and PinToFeed, a company specializing in remote pet-feeding. "The purpose of Petcube is to allow you to be closer and feel closer to your pets, even when you're away," he said.
"We're looking for ways to improve pet owners' lives with technology."
The company has achieved its Kickstarter goal and is looking to add a few more bells and whistles in the remaining month it has. While they are planning to ship out the first Petcubes next May, Azhnyuk said that a few could be sent out as early as the end of this year.
"We're going to install the first prototypes in animal shelters," he said. "We'll release the app, so people will be able to use it to play with pets in the shelters."