Is your pet pingable?


Facial recognition is the latest and greatest technological feature phones have to offer. But what if that same technology was applied to your veterinary patients or your own pets?

Welcome to the future. Photo: The next wave of the future is here, and your face is now something you can utilize to unlock, authenticate and pay on your phone. With the upcoming iPhone X, you can enable Face ID to project and analyze more than 30,000 invisible dots to create a precise depth map of your face, according to Apple's website. It even learns in order to adapt to physical changes in your appearance over time. Crazy, but crazy helpful, right?

Let's get a little bit crazier.

What if that same technology was applied to pets?

Stay with us here. If a pet runs away and gets picked up by a kind stranger, how should they get into contact with the pet owner? How can they be sure it's their dog in the first place? Ping A Pet, a facial recognition program for your pet founded by Rickey Austin, PhD, believes they are the answer.

On their Kickstarter page, they begin by proposing a challenge many if not all pet owners face at least once in their life. “Anyone who has ever lost a pet knows it can be a frightening and anxious experience,” the page states. “It is scary for both the pet and for their family. Time can be of the essence as the more they wander looking for their home, the more lost they can become.”

So you snap a photo of your dog and post it on their app. Isn't Facebook already accomplishing that? Not quite. According to the Kickstarter page, “The application is qualified through a rigorous multi-stage process against tens of thousands of images. The end result is a strong identification matrix to recognize your pet!”

When it comes down to the bare necessities, though, the Ping A Pet peeps say that what's really important is the community the app builds. “The success of Ping A Pet does not depend on any specific technology advancement,” the site says. “We have proven methods to quickly identify your pet's face. The success of the program is dependent on communication and tools and a caring community.”

You're probably wondering how it basically works. The Kickstarter page touches on that too. “The best part of Ping A Pet is that your dog or cat doesn't have to be reported lost for a good citizen to notify the pet owner,” the site states. “If your pet runs away without you knowing it, they can still be identified.” In other words, if a lost pet is found, take a photo of the pet and find contact information of the owner and more information about the pet.

You can find out more (and donate, if you'd like) to their cause on their Kickstarter page and their website.  

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