Connected Objects Pets

Where’s Nellie? This GPS locator mixes radios to pinpoint your pooch

It’s a common nightmare for dog owners: their beloved pet has run out of the house and they can’t find the pooch anywhere.

Where’s Nellie is a GPS tracking device designed to ease a dog owner’s mind if their pet runs off and can’t be found. The Nellie Beacon attaches securely to a dog’s collar and works in conjunction with an iOS and Android app. The beacon communicates up to six miles away with the included Nellie Base unit. If a dog is missing, the owner just has to press the locate button on the app and, in a few minutes, Where’s Nellie will pinpoint the location of the dog on the smartphone. It costs $179 and will ship in January. Its maker is hoping to raise $100,000 by May 16.

The device has promise despite coming along after several similar products, including Lucky Tag and WUF. However, Nellie seems to be superior to several rivals in a few ways. First, it makes use of several radio technologies. If the base unit is near the beacon, it uses Bluetooth LE technology. But if the dog is out of range, Semtech’s LoRa long-range wireless solution is used instead. If the pet owner wants to pinpoint exactly where the dog is, GPS is used.

Second, there are no monthly fees involved. Third, its batteries will last more than 365 days because the Beacon’s patent-pending technology uses low-power components and software, according to its Kickstarter campaign. That’s far more battery life than most rival products.


The Watchdog lights up the leash

It doesn’t take long for savvy parents to refrain from asking, “Whose turn is it to walk the dog?” and just draft one of the kids to do it. The Watchdog may very well change all of that. With flexible, cable light technology exclusive to the company, The Watchdog is a strong, illuminated leash that also offers functioning as a steady or flashing stream of light, which makes night walks safer for pet and owner. The principle behind the 360º cable light technology is similar to neon, except that cable is very flexible. The item must be kept charged in order to function properly, but this is done easily enough with the included USB cord. Pet owners will likely rejoice at their new disco leash, but may be a little halted by the price tag. Backers get one product for $100 with expected delivery in March 2014. This campaign seeks to raise $70,000 on Kickstarter for the chance to give pet owners more enthusiasm to walk their dogs.