Bark! Dog Well-Being

A connected system which allows owners to better understand the welfare needs of their dogs.

Research Findings

To understand the issues affecting dogs and their owners, in-depth research was undertaken. This involved reading journals, talking to RSPCA workers and interviewing vets and behaviourists throughout the project.

Developing a Connected System

What was discovered is that more information and knowledge can help owners better understand the needs of their pets. As a result, I developed a concept which uses a system to inform the owners of their dogs needs and gives them tools to address them. This system uses activity monitoring compiled into data that is accessed by the owner via a smartphone App as well as a home unit.

Design Inspiration

The system would require a friendly feel as it’s giving advice - if the owners were to feel chastised by a product they would be unlikely to use it. As a result, a soft , light aesthetic was chosen which also has connotations with health and wellness. Natural materials are also chosen which both as a quality feel to the products.

Sketching

The Home Hub gives owner a quick overview of how well the 4 key needs of dogs (mental, social, physical, environmental) have been met.

Model Making

Taking the sketches to physical prototypes primarily using CNC milling and 3D printing. This allowed for testing of scale, functionality and fit of parts. The final hub prototype also used arduino programming for the LEDs.

Bark! Home Hub

the Bark! Home Hub uses a combination of bluetooth and Wifi to gather the information from the activity monitor and upload it to the smartphone application. It also gives an up-to-date visual overview using LED lighting, with brighter lights meaning more attention is needed to that specific area of wellbeing.

Bark! Monitor

Bark! makes use of wearable technologies to monitor the day-to-day activity of the dog. This unit can be unobtrusively attached to collars or harnesses for comfortable wear. The data gathered by the monitor is connected to the App and Hub so owners can see what their pet has been up to or detect changes in behaviour, which could be an early indicator of illness.

Bark! Smart Toys

Each Bark! toy features a replaceable insert for a bluetooth module which transmits a signal to the Activity Monitor to track when it is being played with.

Bark! Smartphone App

As a connected system, the information gathered by the activity monitor and toys is relayed to an application which can then be easily accessed by the owner to find out all they need to know about their pets. The App allows owners to set and monitor their targets, manually input extra activities and to give suggestions as to how the targets can be met through training and activities.