Pawtrack: For Cats. Not Dogs. Not children. Cats.
Cats are not dogs. Nor are they children. They do their own thing. They go their own way. Great for them. Not so good for the owner.
6 years ago I lost my cat Monty for 10 days. We searched high and low, hours and hours with our stomachs in knots. He did finally return very dramatically on day 10, and I vowed never to go through that again.
I started looking for a GPS tracker for cats, but there just weren't any which were suitable or did what I wanted. They were either too fiddly, or just imported trackers stuck around a cat's neck. So I started Pawtrack.
Pawtrack has been designed for cat owners. Cat owners need a simple, no fuss tracker designed for cats. You want to know when your cat is at home, safe and sound. You need to know when he is out and about, and more importantly where. You want to know where he has been, at any time of day or night. Above all you want all this to happen automatically, without having to worry.
Pawtrack takes a location fix every 10 minutes (and on request for live tracking). These positions are stored on the collar and are then uploaded automatically or on demand. If your cat is resting, it tells the server and switches off. If your cat has arrived home, you're told. You get to see where your cat goes, and where he is without having to lift a finger.
We have even designed a feature for you to be alerted when the collar finally gets a good fix. If your cat is lost you don't have to spend hours by a computer, you will be told as soon as the collar has got a positional fix.
In addition the collar is WiFi enabled, and programmed to recognise your home WiFi. Once your cat returns it recognises the WiFi, tells our server he’s home, downloads the latest positions and shuts down. Once your cat leaves home it starts up again.
A built in accelerometer recognises when your cat is sleeping, resting or lazing around and shuts the collar down to conserve battery.
Safety Collar - The collar is securely attached around the cat's neck, but a unique safety buckle allows the collar to stretch and come off your cat should it get into difficulty.
GPS/ GLONASS antenna - The most important element of the tracker. We've gone overboard on the accuracy from this collar. Firstly we've put the antenna on the back of the cat's neck. Sounds simple, but that's where it should be, not strung under the cat's neck (would you place your car GPS on the underside of your car?). Second we're using both the GPS and Glonass satellite systems, giving double the chance of a fix.
GPRS - When your cat is out and about, the collar stays in contact with our server via the mobile phone network.
WiFi- A cat sleeping under a bed all day won't get a proper positional fix, and will burn through battery. The in-built WiFi antenna is programmed to recognise your home WiFi, inform the server that your cat is home and shut down the collar. You can see that your cat is home and safe. The collar kicks into life as soon as your cat leaves.
Tracking- Tracking is carried out on any internet-enabled device via the web. We have kept it as simple as possible. Login to the site, and click on update to get hold of the latest positions. A dedicated mobile app is due to be launched later this year. Multiple cats can be tracked at once.
Geofence/ low battery alerts - these can all be set by the user
Sim Cards/ Countries and Costs
We provide everything, including a sim card. You simply need to charge the collar from a USB port in about 4 hours and put the collar on your cat. There are no fiddly SMS commands, or set up instructions.
The cost of the first year's subscription (and second year where stated) is all included in the Kickstarter pledge price opposite. Once the initial period expires, and you wish to continue using the collar, there will be a monthly cost of £6/ US$10.
The collar will work in over 171 countries, including USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and throughout the EU. Check out our web site for full details.
It is possible to roam throughout these countries with no drop in service. You can travel throughout Europe, or from Canada to the USA and still use Pawtrack.
Plug & Play
We have made Pawtrack as simple as possible. Just charge it up from a USB port (from a computer, or mains adaptor) and then put it on your cat, and then start tracking.
Apart from setting up WiFi via the web site, there is no setting up to do- no sms commands to send. If you want to make changes to the way the collar operates (and you can change accuracy, number of fixes per hour, geo-fence boundaries) then it is easy: A few clicks and the set up is changed.
The full story starts in 2008 when our cat Monty decided to go walkabout. Not for a couple of hours, or nights, but 10 days. We have no idea where he had gone or what he had been up to.
I started developing the collar back then. The collar has been 5 years in the making. Back in 2009 we made our first collar, which was for dogs and cats. As you can see for a cat, it was chunky to say the least.
This was a very simple model which took locations every 10 minutes and sent them out automatically by GPRS every 10 minutes. We soon realised the limitations in this: batteries were exhausted quickly, cats really didn't like the size of the collar and it was no good for cats who went wondering for days.
Over the next few years we started from scratch again. A new web site and tracking platform was developed, and the collar was re-designed.
This collar had all features of the current collar apart from the accelerometer to allow the collar to shut down whilst the cat rests.
Pawtrack collars was sent out across the world including the USA, Canada, Australia, France, UK and across Europe. Cats were tracked (and are still being tracked) from the lanes of Belgium to the streets of Los Angeles.
In 2014 with the advances in GPS we decided to upgrade the GPS antenna and hardware to include both the Russian Glonass system as well as GPS. This means that we are giving you every chance to track your cat.
In addition we put in an accelerometer. Whilst your cat is sleeping/ resting/ lounging around the collar will shut down to conserve power.
Pawtrack already has a solid working on-line platform, and firmware that has been extensively tested over the last 2 years. We are in the final stages of integrating the new GPS antenna and accelerometer.
The new version of the collar will be launched in 3 months, by November 2014. We are very confident of reaching this deadline.
Where the money is going
The final stage of production is to make the plastic moulding for the collar. With your help we can get this made push forward to production.
The firmware on the collar, the website, and the hardware itself has all been extensively tested. Production facilities have been identified, and we are very confident of hitting this deadline.
Risks and challenges
The new collar design will still use the vast majority of the components and firmware of the previous model. There are always some risks inherent in updating the GPS antenna, but the chosen component has no known issues and has been used on a number of other projects by our designers.
We have tried to mitigate production issues by moving production back to the UK to an established manufacturer. We will be able to deal with any production issues promptly and efficiently.
We should also note that the collar requires a GPRS connection. Our website contains full details of the telecoms provider in each of their territories, and we would recommend checking these and using a coverage map before committing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We would hope for about 4-5 days, it really depends how active your cat is and whether you are switching on the power saving options. We can put the collar into a deep sleep when the cat is not moving, or in Wifi mode. This means that the modem is off (but still checks in every one hour). Also, if the signal strength is good this also helps a lot.
If the collar is in sleep mode, it can be activated remotely.
Will the accelerometer mean that if my cat is injured/ hurt the collar will shut down and I won't be able to contact the collar?
The collar will shut down whilst the cat is resting. There are 2 levels. The first is that the GPS is switched off only 20 minutes. The modem is still on, and will report back as usual (and can be contacted).
The second is that the collar switches off the modem after 40 minutes inactivity. However every hour, the collar will automatically check in with the server. If you have requested it comes out of sleep mode, the collar will be activated and will function as normal.
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