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Video Pet Wearables? But Seriously, Folks... (Video) 28

It sounds like a joke at first, but Risto Lähdesmäki, CEO of user interface design firm Idean (corporate motto: Life is too short for crappy UX), pointed us at DogTelligent and several other companies that are making pet wearables that seem to have real, practical uses. But Risto and his design crew work primarily on wearables and interface design for humans, and since their client list ranges from Sony and Samsung to Volkswagen and Rolls Royce, Risto is in a great position to spot future trends in the (maybe too) hot wearables market.

Slashdot: This is Risto. He's the CEO of idean, a company that designs user interfaces here and there for many different kinds of products and services. He has a pretty good handle on the future of wearables and that's what we're going to talk about today. Risto, let’s start out by telling me how do you pronounce your last name?

Risto Let's try, Laha desmaki.

Slashdot: La desmaki.

Risto Well, pretty good.

Robin Miller: Where are you from if I may ask?

Risto Lähdesmäki: From Finland originally, I’m based in Palo Alto, California now, but originally from Finland.

Robin Miller: Boy, who else have we heard of who is from Finland? Oh, right, that Linus Torvald guy.

Risto Lähdesmäki: Yes. That's the one and, yeah, there are few other ones as well.

Slashdot: I heard that you were talking about pet wearables.

Risto Yeah, I mean that's one interesting area where I can see that, you know, wearables will be improving quite a bit. No, I don't know if dogs or cats really want to have any wearables, but it's a massive market. And the main reason is that it will help us to enjoy our lives with our pets better. And that should be the only goal. I don't think we are there yet because since the whole domain of wearables is still quite up in the air. Everyone is trying out stuff, like lot of crappy stuff. If I look like last three years it's been like crap. But that's how it goes forward. We learn from our mistakes and then companies are coming around with new innovative solutions and I'm really looking forward to see in terms of cool, meaningful, relevant wearables which are removing the friction and not just adding to pain. And I have known like there are some pretty good examples out there, like for example, Dogtelligence. Sorry I can't pronounce it. Dogtelligent! Dogtelligent is an interesting company who's like helping pet owners and they are helping them to train pets, creating like virtual fences around the pets. Something really cool and interesting in that sense, and you can actually literally help pet owner to train their pets to become better pets.

Robin Miller: I hadn't thought about the invisible fences, the alert function, something that we put on the collar now, but doesn't work all that well.

But how do new wearables coma about? By saying, oh look a device. Now let’s see how to hook to it. Or are they getting to the point where they call someone like you first and design them – the experience and the screens and all that – and then build the device around that? What's going on there?

Risto So what we mainly see today is that since there are so many interesting devices out there you can buy already, lots of companies are exploring how they could use those devices in their business. So they come to us like, here is this Apple Watch and we're thinking like we could use it to solve this kind of problem, whatever it might be. And then it's our job to follow their employees and tape people and observe how they behave to get this emotional connection and then to find a meaningful way to solve any kind of problem with wearable or mobile or whatever device. And so what we're seeing here and this is a great time because it's not any more like, hey, yeah, we need to do something cool because it’s cool rather than, hey, we got this business needs and we're seeing there's an opportunity because we're seeing a lot of friction, lot of people wasting their time on wrong things. And then we're like, hey, let's try to remove that friction. And wearable devices are extremely good for that. I mean, one of our first wearable product, it's from 2007, and it was for a mining drill company.

Robin Miller: Okay.

Risto Lähdesmäki: Like the guys in the mine. So we went to a mine in 2007 in Morocco and we spent like two weeks in like what 100 Fahrenheit, 1 mile beneath the surface observing how people behave over there. And then we came back and came up with this idea, well, hey, we can use this wearable thing to help them to conduct their work there, and they actually built the whole thing, and it's been like widely successful thing.

Robin Miller: What specifically did you do for the people in the mine?

Risto Lähdesmäki: We created a device with a digital user interface and then there were a lot of other stuff as well which helps them to not to get their face ripped off in a mine.

Robin Miller: How does that work?

Risto Lähdesmäki: Massively complicated thing, but it's just like modern mine is more about like very modern devices over there, like drills. And you need to control them, so we came up with this concept where this device on your hand, you would control these drills with the wearable thing, and then again there were other devices as well, but this was one part of that. And it's so funny because it’s 2016 now and we're all looking at cool wearable things and we were working with that stuff back in 2007-2008 and literally we started from like corporate environment, not the consumer area. If I look at the consumer area and domain today like last year, year before, we were designing a lot of fancy, wearable clock faces, beautiful screens.

Robin Miller: Yeah.

Risto Lähdesmäki: Trying to imitate real watches which I always felt like, hey, oh, we got this fancy beautiful device and man, all we're doing is like beautiful replications of old watch faces. What we are seeing today is like, hey, we got this beautiful screen and real estate, how we can use that real estate in a way that it actually brings some value to you? It actually makes you enjoy your life, makes enjoy your work better and that's happening as we speak and that's what companies are really getting it now.

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Pet Wearables? But Seriously, Folks... (Video)

Comments Filter:
  • Nothing new (Score:5, Funny)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Friday January 22, 2016 @06:26PM (#51353905) Homepage Journal
    This is nothing new. I have been wearing my pet for years.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Friday January 22, 2016 @06:29PM (#51353941)

    Can I try a save against illusions? This guy looks like he's sitting in his mom's kitchen. He owns a company? Droid, please.

  • by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Friday January 22, 2016 @06:36PM (#51354011)

    First of all TWO full 30 second ads in a 7 minute video? come on man...

    Second, I didn't get any better sense at all about what the pets would be wearing... the guy mostly just talked about how we (humans) are using more wearables these days and how maybe they could be used to .... idk (there was no real point made).

    Talk about blatant /vertisement... I think the video is simply a vehicle for the ads and that is it.

    • by Roblimo ( 357 )

      2 30-second preroll ads? Barf. I've always considered 15 seconds -- or "skip ad after 5 seconds" -- the maximum that should be inflicted on readers/viewers. I'll check with our ad and tech people, see what's happening. I know a lot of publishers consider 30 seconds okay, but 2X30 seconds? Not good, but obviously not under the control of anyone who actually works on the site. Sigh.

    • I ignored the video and the first link and looked only at the link for the company with a product. A "smart" dog collar. GPS, cellular, speakers. Aside from the expected "where's my dog" utility, the speakers were an interesting surprise. Issuing relatively quiet commands remotely, not having to yell across a field.
      • One feature was "Track Progress & Create Goals"

        The only goals my dog ever had were to follow me every time I went near the refrigerator, lick my face, and catch that Frisbee,


  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Friday January 22, 2016 @07:38PM (#51354367) Homepage
    These already exist. Grouping them together and saying they are 'pet wearables' is the only new thing here.

    Bark Collars, collar cameras, RFID chips that unlock a pet door, GPS locators, implanted RFID chips are available already.

  • It sounds like a joke at first

    No it doesn't. It's no more or less of a joke than human wearables. In fact, it's probably less so.

    My old dog had an LED collar for walks at night. Is that a "wearable"?

    Heck, pets are miles ahead of us. Most of them have already got "implantables" which can be used to unlock (cat and doggy) doors!

  • Are shock collars "pet wearables" now? Wow, Sparky is going to be so psyched that he had pet wearables before they were cool!
  • https://soezooscope.files.word... [wordpress.com]

    <southpark>Pixar did it!</southpark>

  • If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, it's a pretty major convenience to track them down when it's time to go to the vet or before it's going to rain (cat's too stupid to figure that out, will get soaked and track it in, at least they're sterilized).

    So yeah, nothing new here, ....

    • How far a range do you get on them? What's the battery life like?

      My cats have all been indoor cats, and only some of them have been willing to wear collars (the others find ways to ditch them and hide them under furniture), and most of the ones who hated collars were the ones least likely to be able to find their way back home if they got out. So changing batteries sounds like trouble.

  • I walk my dog at an off-leash park every day, and in the dead of winter it gets pitch-dark here around 4:30pm. We have a light-up collar, but you can only see it from specific angles, so I used an arduino lilypad to add some lights to her jacket. The arduino board means I can make the lights be any colour I like, or even have patterns, and (most importantly) I can make them turn on automatically when it gets dark.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.