About this project
- shoots a miniature tennis ball between 10 and 30 feet (3 adjustable stettings)
- runs on batteries or can be plugged into an outlet
- powers up on demand - it turns itself on when a ball is dropped in and shuts itself off once it launches the ball
- teaches your dog to fetch and return in a new and interesting way
- works great with kids and dogs - many dogs have been able to use the toy to play fetch by themselves, however every dog loves it when people play with them!
The idea was Grant's. Our toy poodle, Prancer, kept dropping a ball at his feet and barking... Grant said "Why don't we make something that will throw the ball for him?!"
We invented iFetch out of necessity. While we all love taking turns throwing Prancer his ball, his appetite for the activity exceeded our combined capacity to satisfy him. Luckily for us (and we hope for you), Prancer is pretty single-minded and he relentlessly requests that we throw the ball. After Grant's epiphany, we figured that Prancer was probably not unique, and thus, iFetch was born.
Together, Grant and Denny began building a prototype. With an excellent proof of concept in hand, we decided to develop the idea further.
We contracted with d:e for the (truly great) overall design of the product and then with Pump for the mechanical/electonic design. We have proceeded all the way to manufacturing prototypes and product testing. We have production drawings and have initial manufacturing quotes for molds, parts, and assembly. iFetch has patents filed in the U.S. and internationally.
With your help, finished iFetch units will be shipped out from the factory in October. Our goal is to deliver rewards to our backers just in time for the holidays.
iFetch comes with 3 miniature tennis balls and a wall plug adapter. iFetch doesn't require the adapter though, it can run on 6 C batteries (not included) for maximum portability.
A few lucky dogs have been playing with iFetch since our first functional prototype was completed. They have been instrumental in fine tuning the product; this toy is for them after all!
After years of working, iFetch is ready for more homes and more dogs! We have spent the last few months fine-tuning and testing our prototypes. Based on the wonderful feedback we have gotten, we know you and your dog will enjoy playing with it just as much as we have enjoyed making it.
This is where Kickstarter comes in. As we mentioned in the project video, we are ready for production, but tooling is costly. With your support, we will be able to make the investment necessary to mass produce the iFetch. So, help us bring iFetch to you!
Backers on Kickstarter will receive their iFetch months before anyone else!
Thank you for your interest in iFetch, we look forward to sharing it with you and your dog!
Risks and challenges
Starting a new company and launching a new product are huge challenges. There is still much to be done, but we have chosen really impressive people to help get us to this point. And, we feel just as confident about our choice of manufacturers.
If iFetch gets funded, we will make sure everything goes according to plan in order to make iFetch the best it can be. We will work very hard to meet our estimated delivery date of November 2013. We promise to keep our backers well informed of our progress.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The balls are 40mm in diameter, which is the same size as most miniature tennis balls you will find in stores. Although we find our iFetch balls much more playful and cute, we wanted to make sure that balls were easy to find. So, when it is time to buy new balls, you can either order them from us, or run to your nearest pet store!
Unfortunately, Kickstarter doesn't allow us to offer a reward with more than on iFetch unit. So, the best way to order two is to have a friend or family member order a second from a seperate account.
As for extra balls, if you up your pledge in increments of $10, we will send you 5 more balls for each $10 added. Just be sure to send us a message so we can make note of this.
Is there going to be a forward proximity sensor which will prevent the device from firing when an object is in front of the launcher?
We did consider that, however we've seen dogs get hit by the ball and we've actually seen dogs catch the ball right out of the machine without incident.
Seeing as occasionally being struck by the ball didn't pose any threat to the dog, we decided to not include that feature in an effort to keep the iFetch as affordable as possible.
Jenkins, from our "iFetch All-Stars", gets the balls all slobbery so we put a drool drain in the tube, which is easy to wipe clean if necessary.
We have had problems with slobbery balls getting stuck, so we are focusing on making sure that will not be a problem.
We are still working to source an AC adapter with the goal of providing one that will work with everyone's country specific power requirements. However, if we can't find a reasonably priced adapter, the product may just ship with a 120V adapter, in which case you would need a converter. Of course you can always stick with batteries, which works great! It should also work with rechargeable batteries.
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