FitBark, a New York-based startup, launched the product Thursday on Kickstarter and at the NY Tech Day tech show in Manhattan, seeking funding to produce its wearable fitness tracker for pets.
For a $99 pledge, people receive a wearable bone-shaped device, a home base that collects data, and a three-month subscription to the service. The FitBark mobile app itself is free. (FitBark is not affiliated with Fitbit.)
"We all wondered how we were doing as dog parents," co-founder Michael Chiang told CNET at the tech show. "We think we're walking them enough, but we're not sure. And we also wanted to make sure whoever we asked to walk our dog actually does."
Here's how it works. You attach the FitBark tracker, in the shape of a dog bone, to your pet's collar and pair it with your smartphone via Bluetooth. The product constantly collects the physical activity data for your pet, storing that information in the collar device's memory.
When the device is within range of a paired smartphone or a FitBark "home base," it pushes all of the new activity data to FitBark's Web server. The information is sent to an app on your phone, allowing you to see just how much your dog is walking and when it's doing so.
The app determines your pet's daily "BarkScore," or activity level based on the typical metrics for other dogs in its specific breed and size.
Wearable fitness devices have really started to take off, but there are few such offerings for pets. The Tagg GPS pet tracker is one such product. Like FitBark, it monitors the physical activity of your dog. But it also goes one step further by incorporating GPS to locate a missing pet. The FitBark simply includes an accelerometer, microcontroller, and BlueTooth.