A few years ago I adopted a dog who absolutely hates being home alone. Alex Neskin had a dog named Rocky who could relate. The technical term is separation anxiety. Alex invented an ingenious device called the Petcube that helps dogs de-stress when they are left at home. As the website says, “Petcube is a home gadget that lets you watch, talk and play laser games with your pet through mobile app anytime, anywhere.” Yep, you read that right—remote laser gaming.
Rocky barked and scratched so loudly that the neighbors threatened to call the police on the little puppy. That’s when Alex created an Arduino-based robot to entertain his dog remotely with a laser pointer through a web interface. He shared the gadget with his friends online and found out that most of them would love to have the same device for their own pets.
Is Petcube going to be popular? Oh ya. The Kickstarter campaign raised more than $250,000. “Petcube became the most successful crowdfunded pet product in history,” says Alex. As much as Alex appreciates that fact, he says the most heart-warming feedback he has received to-date comes from the pet rescue crowd. One person told him, “Your product is going to help change the face of rescued dogs around the world!”
Like any good gadget, the Petcube isn’t just functional—it looks good. It should since the team put a lot of effort into the design. “At early stage prototyping we spent a crazy amount of $1,000 to produce a single Petcube housing from a solid 12 by 12 by 12 cm aluminum block,” Alex says.