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Ruff day? Cutting edge tech to keep pets healthy

January 2023

When asked for an example of innovative health technology, we would typically think of systems designed for human consumers – whether wearable devices, home monitoring systems or telehealth. However, here at CES 2023, it is apparent that health technology for pets is exhibiting surprising growth. With the rise of affordable activity trackers for humans causing the collection and analysis of health data to become ubiquitous day to day, recent digital health start-ups are increasingly turning to look at our furry companions.

The equivalent of a smart watch for your pet, one major theme at CES 2023 is innovation relating to smart collars for monitoring various pet health metrics. While tracking collars are not a new concept, recent developments are significantly increasing the sophistication of these devices and the breadth of metrics available for tracking.

French electronics company Invoxia have returned to CES 2023 with their smart dog collar. The collar was announced at the show last year and honoured in the Innovation Awards 2022. Now Invoxia has returned to CES to announce the commercial launch of the product in Q1 of this year. The collar is marketed as the most advanced biometric monitoring collar available, and utilises artificial intelligence to monitor a range of behavioural and vital signs for early detection of abnormality. Invoxia have a published patent family to the smart collar, including one US granted patent US11490598 directed specifically to the monitoring of dog barking sounds to infer a psychological state of the dog.

However, Invoxia isn’t alone in claiming to be on the cutting edge of biometrics – a new product range revealed at CES this year includes the Cotons Sense 1 and Cotons Sense 1 Pro from CareSix, a smart dog collar and cardiac harness respectively which are both recipients of the Innovation Award 2023. Little has been published online yet regarding these products however the company appear to have filed at least four Korean patent applications so far to aspects of the bio-signal monitoring hardware. Another contender in the battle of the smart collars is established US based company Wagz Inc who are known for their Freedom Smart Collar and Wagz Tagz, a GPS monitoring system announced at CES last year. Wagz Tagz utilises geofencing in conjunction with vibration, audible cues and ultrasonic sounds to keep a pet within a predefined area using humane feedback. Wagz have to date a patent portfolio of eight families, including a number directed to geofencing and feedback systems associated with the Wagz Tagz.

One new and particularly notable exhibitor at CES 2023 was Ilume, an Australian based start up exhibiting in CES’ Eureka Park, a venue dedicated for early stage start-ups. From what I have seen Ilume’s offering was unique at the convention for being not only a wearable, but a fully integrated tech system including a wearable activity tracker and connected food bowl. Ilume’s system works by collecting activity data for your pet over time, along with user input data regarding your pet’s statistics. The system apparently utilises artificial intelligence to learn the pet’s routine, activity levels and temperament. Ilume’s systems then predict the calorific needs for your pet on any given day based on their predicted levels of activity. By communicating this to the connected food bowl, the food bowl can feedback to the pet owner the correct quantity of food for that particular meal. The holistic nature of the product does seem to be unique, and so it may be surprising that Ilume do not appear to have any patent rights. However, the product hasn’t yet reached the market and so it is possible that patent applications have been filed, but not yet reached the stage of publication, which takes 18 months from filing. Ilume could be a pet tech company to watch in the coming years.

Outside the smart collar field, even big name brands like Samsung are presenting pet care products this year, bizarrely for Samsung in the form of a robot vacuum cleaner which can keep tabs on your pet when you are away. Other notable offerings at CES 2023 include two new products from smaller companies in South Korea which provide insight into your pets using only your mobile phone. The first is TTCare from AI for Pet, a mobile app honoree in the CES Innovation Awards 2023 which can reportedly can detect various health conditions from a photograph of your pet’s eyes, skin or joints. The second is PetNow, an Innovation Award winner from 2022 which offers AI-driven identification for dogs and cats. Whilst the efficacy here might be up for debate, it’s clear that the number of avenues for innovation in this field is only growing.

These are only some highlights from an array of pet technology exhibited here in Las Vegas. As these new insights provide avenues to better understand and care for our companions, we can only wonder what other weird and wonderful developments will be made in the coming years.

This blog was prepared by HGF Patent Attorney Cassie Smith.

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