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$23,521 pledged of $150,000 goal
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By iPet Companion
$23,521 pledged of $150,000 goal
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About this project

iPet Companion connects you remotely - and physically - with your pets at home, so you can view, play, and care for your furry loved ones from anywhere in the world! It’s pet webcasting and remote pet play for everyone.

What if you could check in on your pets when you're not home? What if you could know they're safe, check in to see how they're doing, and even play with them remotely when you can’t be there in person? With iPet Companion HomePlay, you can do that, and more!

A PRODUCT TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF PEOPLE AND PETS...

Our Kickstarter project is a little different. We initially created this technology for industrial applications, but serendipitously struck a chord in the animal welfare world by using our tech to allow internet users to play with animals available for adoption. 

Please take a moment to watch Discovery Channel's "Must Love Cats" feature on our work in animal shelters...

And don’t just take The Discovery Channel’s word for it:

Help us take iPet Companion beyond animal shelters...
and into YOUR HOME.

iPet Companion has been available since 2010 in animal shelters in the USA, through our website at www.ipetcompanion.com. With the popularity of the shelter systems, we've received requests for an iPet home play version, and as you can see, we’ve got the technology to build it. But to bring it to you, we need to purchase molds and tooling for large-scale production, and to reach the volume necessary to achieve a cost model that is appropriate for a home version. 

If this campaign succeeds, we’ll be able to offer iPet Companion to individual pet lovers around the world -- including YOU! So please back our project and help us bring iPet Companion to the world, one home at a time.

*Note: This system is live video streaming service as well as a fully hosted website; therefore, there must be a $2.95 cost per month to cover these streaming and hosting services. See FAQ for additional details.

  • PET PARENTS who want to look in on their pets when they’re not home: make sure your pets are safe, and view and play with them remotely when you can’t be there in person; 
  • PET FOSTER PARENTS OR RESCUE GROUPS who want to to showcase adoptable or soon-to-be-available animals; 
  • CAT CAFES that want to show off their kitties to the local community -- and beyond. Exceed your building's maximum capacity by inviting the "world" inside! 
  • INTERNET LOVERS ready to show off their pets (or anything else) to the world, with personalized live streaming, blogging, photo and video shares, and more; 
  • TECHIES who love creative gadgets with massive expansion capabilities. (We supply a wall adapter that plugs into your home's wall socket, so you can operate not just the iPet toy, but any electrical device you plug into it! More details below.) 
  •  ANYONE who wants to view and physically interact with their home environment -- while away from home!

*Note: The system comes with a smart wall adapter with three independent plugs that you can control from your webpage. Use one plug to operate the toy that ships with the unit, and the other two are yours to control anything you wish to plug into them. Examples are bubble machines, treat dispensers, laser lights, water fountains (even sprinklers if you want to water your garden from the office on a hot day), a tennis ball thrower, well…anything. This gives versatility to play with other, larger, animals, or to use the system in other creative ways as you desire. Also, the toy that ships with the unit has a ¼” quick-connect so you may swap out any cat toy of your preference at your local pet store. Examples are “Cat Dancer”, the “feather teaser”, and the "furry mouse teaser." There are literally hundreds of cat toys with the ¼” wand, which is why we chose the quick connect option, to give you ultimate versatility. Our toy motor mimics your “wrist-action,” as if you were standing in the room moving the toy yourself, and you can choose your favorite toy to insert into the ¼” end. 

This system offers live video streaming and a fully hosted website for you; therefore, there must be a $2.95 cost per month to cover these streaming and hosting services.

Here are some design renderings of what our final shipped product might look like when it arrives at your home (design is still in development):

(Clockwise from left) Camera; Smart Wall Adapter; Toy Motor with 1/4" quick connect; Control Box. Note: the toy's 1/4" quick connect allows you to change out any 1/4" wand toy that you find at your local pet store.
(Clockwise from left) Camera; Smart Wall Adapter; Toy Motor with 1/4" quick connect; Control Box. Note: the toy's 1/4" quick connect allows you to change out any 1/4" wand toy that you find at your local pet store.
Design of the iPet Companion HomePlay
Design of the iPet Companion HomePlay

Click to see our design animations:

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                             Final product may differ from image renderings

                   

We’re a small tech company, with a technology that gives anyone in the world the ability to physically control machinery and equipment remotely via the internet. iPet Companion was born when one of our engineers was testing a remotely-controlled piston at his home, and found that the movement of the robotic arm got his cat Spot’s attention, enticing him to jump and play with the moving parts. It enticed the engineer too, so much that he ended up playing with his cat most of the day, finishing almost none of his work! 

Thus, we say that iPet Companion was “discovered” by a cat named Spot, the first cat to play with our product and make it his own.

iPet Companion was "discovered" by Spot the Cat, shown above practicing his hunting skills. Yes, that is really him!
iPet Companion was "discovered" by Spot the Cat, shown above practicing his hunting skills. Yes, that is really him!

We reached out to our local humane society and asked if they would be interested in placing internet-controlled toys in their facility, which would allow people to play with their shelter animals from their computers. They agreed, and within 45 minutes of the site going live there were people in England playing with cats in Idaho over the web; and soon people in over 170 countries were playing with animals awaiting adoption.

Kittens play with one of our first iPet Companion sets at Oregon Humane society, ca. 2010 (left); A cat at Idaho Humane Society checks out an iPet toy operated remotely via the internet, at our first shelter location (right).
Kittens play with one of our first iPet Companion sets at Oregon Humane society, ca. 2010 (left); A cat at Idaho Humane Society checks out an iPet toy operated remotely via the internet, at our first shelter location (right).

We saw that iPet was becoming a popular toy, but really knew it was making an impact when we started receiving comments like these:

Since our launch, we have placed systems into 27 shelters in the US. Many more shelters have requested the product, but because shelters have limited funds and can't afford the cost of the industrial version, the project has been largely a pro-bono effort (we've been giving our systems to shelters below what it costs us to make them). 

We’re a small team of four people, and we literally started building our equipment by hand in the basement of our office building. Our technology is proven, but our existing equipment is too bulky for home use and is not cost appropriate for mass production:

Here’s the current stage of our equipment, bulky components that work great but are too big and impractical for a home environment!
Here’s the current stage of our equipment, bulky components that work great but are too big and impractical for a home environment!

We’ve been working for many months to reduce the size and weight of our components, and have been through numerous stages and iterations of development. We’ve got what we want to build...now we need the molds to make volume manufacturing feasible, which is what this Kickstarter campaign is for. We hope you'll see the potential and back this campaign.

Trying out potential components and testing designs for use in the home version. The technology will be the same but the components need to be smaller and lighter!
Trying out potential components and testing designs for use in the home version. The technology will be the same but the components need to be smaller and lighter!

We’ve received hundreds of requests for a home version of iPet Companion, and we’ve got the proven technology and the capability to build it. Now we need your help to fund the production costs of volume manufacturing. If our campaign succeeds, we’ll be able to offer iPet Companion to pet lovers around the world -- including YOU! 

 We think it would be amazing if everyone could have access to iPet Companion, to do at home what online shelter visitors are already doing. But right now, our production costs are out of reach for the consumer market, and they are also out of reach for most shelters and animal rescue organizations. Streamlining our production will help us reduce our costs, making iPet Companion affordable for home users and shelters alike.

THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN!  

Our goal with this campaign is to manufacture a smaller, less expensive, more streamlined home version of iPet Companion that anyone can afford. By backing our project, you'll help us meet the production numbers necessary for volume manufacturing.  

YOU CAN HELP SHELTERS TOO: 

We have over 300 shelters in the US that have requested iPet Companion at their facilities, but cannot afford the cost of the industrial version. As part of this campaign you can sponsor an iPet system for your local shelter or a shelter of your choice. See our rewards section, where we offer the option to sponsor a system (and get your own HomePlay unit too!).

SPONSOR iPET COMPANION FOR A CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL:

In this campaign you are able to get a system for yourself, for a shelter, or even a for a hospital. Check out this news feature to see how this system enabled children at the Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Florida to have "remote pet therapy" when they were not able to have face-to-face contact with animals. 

See how iPet Companion allows isolated young patients to play with furry friends while recovering from treatment. You can back a hospital through this campaign:

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Jump in as a backer today at any level, and help us bring the HomePlay to market:

  • CONNECT WITH ANYONE AND MOVE ANYTHING IN YOUR HOME 

    The tech behind iPet Companion can be used to view more than your pets, and can move more than pet toys. For example, do you want to let the grandparents view and play with your new baby, even moving a toy or shaking a rattle that connects them, in realtime, from anywhere in the world? Reach-in can do that, and more. Back our project and buy a unit to check on your baby -- or someone else you love. Check out www.reach-in.com for more ideas and inspiration. At Reach-in, we don't just create gadgets -- we create connection!

    Because we've built and refined this technology based on years of research, design, and engineering, you can trust that it will work for you, your pets, and your family. 

    IT'S NOT MAGIC - IT'S REACH-IN TECHNOLOGY

    We made a cute video describing how our technology works, and we think it's fun and informative. Click to watch if you're curious how we can move objects remotely from distant locations over the internet. Learn more about the technology and other projects by visiting our website at www.reach-in.com. 

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Risks and challenges

What you see on this page is years of hard work, dedication, and the creation of a technology that we believe can truly impact the world, the internet, and how we relate to both. There are always twists and turns as any startup grows; but we have been at this for six years, and we are COMMITTED to this technology and to this product. We’re excited to be able to confidently say that we've had the industrial shelter systems live to the public since 2010 and over 2MM people have used this technology. We know it works. We have made good estimates on delivery dates and build schedules and we are committed to posting regular and detailed updates to keep our backers up-to-date on progress. We will finish with a solid, functional, and well-designed product that will bring physically interactive technology through the web... to everyone. Thank you.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    WE THANK YOU -- with iPET GOLD STAR ACCESS! Help this project get funded so we can offer iPet Companion to more people -- and more shelters, too. In return for your support of $5 or more, we'll give you Gold Star access (with special graphics and emoticons) for a unique identity on all iPet Companion sites you visit. We'll also add you to our project update list, to share news and stories of online animal play, like these: www.ipetcompanion.com/favorite-stories.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    HELP A SHELTER GET AN iPET SYSTEM FOR THEIR FACILITY! Don’t need a home version for yourself, but want to help a shelter get an iPet system, increasing exposure for their adoptable pets? We'll add up all the contributions at the $25 level and use the combined amount toward providing an iPetCompanion industrial version to one ore more shelters in need. At this level you'll get the $5 reward, as well as your name posted on the “Backers Corner” page on all public shelter sites that receive systems as a result of your contribution!

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    Pledge $149 or more About $149

    HOME PLAY SYSTEM SUPER EARLY BIRD -- BE THE FIRST TO GET A HOMEPLAY! You've made it here first! Be one of the verrrry first to back this project and get an iPet HomePlay system for $149, saving a whopping $80 off the expected retail price! Then congratulate yourself and tell everyone you know how amazing you are. For your pledge, you get this super-reduced price, Gold Star access, first-run production shipping, and your personal webpage will have you listed as an “I was here first” iPet core founder.

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    Reward no longer available 50 backers
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    Pledge $169 or more About $169

    HOMEPLAY SYSTEM - EARLY BIRD: Whoa, just missed the super-early-bird offer? You're still early! Jump in now to get an iPet HomePlay system for $169, saving a massive $60 off the expected retail price! Then sit back and feel satisfied with your achievement. You'll get Gold Star access, first-run production shipping, and your personal webpage will have you listed as an “I was here first” iPet core founder.

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    Pledge $189 or more About $189

    HOMEPLAY KICKSTARTER SPECIAL: This reward is especially for the Kickstarter crowd. Jump in now and get your very own iPet HomePlay system at the special Kickstarter price of $189, saving a full $40 off the retail price! You're in on the ground floor and helping make HomePlay a reality. For that, you (and your pets) deserve to be rewarded. You'll get Gold Star access, your personal page will have you listed as an iPet core founder, annnnd you will be first in your neighborhood to have physically interactive technology in your home! Let the playing begin.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $370 or more About $370

    HOMEPLAY 2-PACK: Not satisfied with just one? Get TWO HomePlay systems (for different rooms or for indoor and outdoor viewing). Or, be a cool cat and buy one for you AND one for a friend or family member who will be forever grateful. This deal gets you two matching HomePlay systems for $88 off the retail price AND gives you the chance to get more than just one system during this campaign. You'll get Gold Star access and your personal page(s) will have you listed as an “I was here first” core founder.

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    Pledge $1,999 or more About $1,999

    PROVIDE AN INDUSTRIAL VERSION iPET SYSTEM FOR A SHELTER OF YOUR CHOICE -- AND GET A HOMEPLAY FOR YOURSELF, TOO! Back at this level and we'll provide an iPet shelter system to any humane society or animal rescue you choose, or one on our list, as a special gift from YOU, including a custom end-of-play screen with your name or message on it.

    +PLUS

    We'll throw in an iPet HomePlay for you and your pets at home, with all the benefits of the earlier backer levels and FREE SHIPPING in the US as an extra thank you (but if you don’t want a system and only want to give to a shelter, just let us know).

    For reference, the difference between a home version and a shelter's industrial version is similar to the difference between a home telephone line vs. a call center. The home line can receive phone calls with others on call waiting, etc., but a call center can receive thousands of calls all at the same time. This is the analogy between the home version and the industrial version of iPet Companion, and explains the cost difference. iPet systems help shelters showcase their adoptable animals -- and you can help make it possible!

    (Shelter location subject to approval based on chosen location having appropriate facilities and internet connection.)

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    Pledge $4,999 or more About $4,999

    GET A HOMEPLAY -aaaaand- BE AN iPET TOY CREATOR! – If you’ve ever fancied yourself a toy designer/ maker/ creator/ enthusiast, now is your chance to make it happen. In addition to receiving a HomePlay with free shipping and all the features of the other backer levels, at this level you can also help decide which toys will be made for our systems. That's right - in return for backing this campaign, we will use YOUR input on future toys that are developed. New toys will be offered for individual home owners and will also be used in the public shelter sites, so the whole world will be playing with your toys.

    As an early adopter, you can collaborate directly with us to suggest/ develop/ beta-test/ change/ tweak/ and try out new toy options. Be the scouts, co-creators, and testers of future toys and toy accessories. You’ll even get full credit on the public sites where your toys are in use. We're excited for you to create with us: What will you plug in??

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $9,999 or more About $9,999

    BRING PET THERAPY INTO HOSPITALS: For this pledge, we supply an iPet system to one of the many hospitals who have requested pet therapy care for patients who are too ill to have face-to-face interactions with animals (reference the Wolfson Children’s Hospital video on this Kickstarter page). We will provide a system with a private session URL, allowing children in recovery to control toys and interact with animals right from their bedside. Find a product description of a current hospital system here: http://www.ipetcompanion.com/thank-you-mattel

    Back at this level and we’ll provide this system to a hospital of your choosing, or one on our list, as a special gift from YOU, including a custom end-of-play screen with your name or message on it.

    +PLUS

    We'll throw in an iPet HomePlay for you and your pets at home, with all the benefits of the earlier backer levels and FREE SHIPPING in the US as an extra thank you (but if you don’t want a system and only want to sponsor a hospital, just let us know).

    (Hospital location subject to approval based on location having appropriate facilities and internet connection.)

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Funding period

- (45 days)