Startup tests video games to distract your dog; see how it works

To stroll? Play with the ball? None of that. A UK startup called Joipaw is betting on a new entertainment for dogs: video games. The company claims that the game, in addition to distracting your dog, can bring benefits to his brain.

The prototype is still in the testing phase, but it’s a “whack-a-mole” type challenge, that electronic game where you use a fake “sledgehammer” to hit bugs that randomly come out of various holes. The dog interacts using its nose – but don’t worry: the touchscreen is resistant to its saliva.

The pet needs to choose which side of an image contains more bubbles. When you get it right, you are rewarded with snacks.

The company is also developing a motion sensor attached to the collar, which will give you the option of additional controls in future games.

According to the Axios portal, the co-founder of Joipaw, Dersim Avdar, had the idea to focus on this segment when he needed to keep his mongrel dog entertained when he and his wife could not give the animal the attention it wanted.

He claims to have already tested simple touch-sensing games on approximately 300 dogs (and 20 wolves) and found potential cognitive benefits for animals with older brains.

How is the design of games for dogs

The game created by Avdar starts out much simpler than those designed for humans. The initial phases show only one target.

“The hardest part is just getting the dogs’ attention so they can start playing without the peanut butter,” Avdar said.

After that, the idea is to train for up to half an hour. According to the company, the challenges can exhaust even the most thoughtful or restless animals.

When will the launch be?

“The idea is to try to develop a technology that starts to reduce the distance between humans and animals, instead of increasing it”, says Clara Mancini, professor of animal-computer interaction at The Open University, in the United Kingdom, and scientific consultant of Joipaw.

She believes the project could lead to the creation of technologies that help humans better understand their pets.

However, there is still no deadline for the launch of Joipaw. Avdar says it is in the process of drawing up price ranges.

He is also creating a subscription system that can offer a wide range of games. One of them must teach the dog not to get hurt by thorns and another will be designed so that the animal and its owner can play together. Another idea is a leaderboard between the dogs that will play.

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