Friday, May 24, 2024

Let Your Dog Wear Wagr

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Wagr, an intelligent sensor based dog wearable, takes more than a peek into what your pet dog is doing and extracts data day in and day out, giving meaningful insights and solutions to us—the dog-parent. This innovation becomes that someone who looks over your pet while you are far away, or possibly right next-door, through the IoT.

Young tech enthusiasts, Advaith Mohan, Ajith Kochery and Siddharth Darbha, have taken the IoT to an innovative new direction—a wearable designed specifically for dogs. This innovation came into being thanks to Jambi, a lovable puppy who they adopted.

With the emotional drive to take better care of Jambi, Advaith Mohan and team co-founded Wagr, and sat down to design a cloth based strap-on, comfortable enough for the dog’s neck. The challenge for the team was to blend all of this into a sensor based wearable with a small form factor for a battery that would last for seven days with one charge, while adopting the latest in Cloud based analytics and contextual intelligence.

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What it does – Wagr

wagr - product image
Fig. 1: Product image

Wagr could be the modern-day dog whisperer. On the ground, many dog parents still have no idea about their pet’s health and habits. As an interpreter, Wagr is equipped with sensors to capture data and send it across to the analytics engine via the Internet. Data is accumulated through close observation of movements and positions of the dog. Equipped with context awareness on analytics and Cloud, sensors to capture data in real time, this tiny wearable lets you know about your dog’s lifestyle.

wagr software screen for services
Fig. 2: Software screen for services

For example, if you find your dog active and moving around, it could be termed healthy. Whereas, if the dog is resting all the time or not showing activity, while historically he used to, the system shows an odd-behaviour pop-up message on your smartphone screen.

You can scroll down for suggestions to help the dog recover from such unusual habits, treatment and healthcare such as timely vaccinations. The platform also provides recommendations, personalised advice and popular word-of-mouth suggestions that are shared by others in the community out of their own experiences. There is a place to note down important things in the application, too, and set reminders for the same.

The connectivity

location tracking using wagr
Fig. 3: Software screen for location tracking of safe zones

Wagr keeps you informed about your dog’s activities like walking, sleeping and playing. It has a powerful battery for uninterrupted connectivity. The flip side to this is that, connectivity consumes most of the battery power.

To counter this, a priority based setting in the order of increasing power consumption, Bluetooth followed by Wi-Fi, followed by GSM and control factors have been embedded. The wearable intelligently switches to Bluetooth in close proximity, to Wi-Fi if away from Bluetooth range and to GSM when away from a Wi-Fi hotspot. You can thus stay connected even over very long distances.

Context awareness

home activity monitoring using wagr
Fig. 4: Software screen for home activity monitoring

Integrating GPS onto a wearable for animals is not new. Geo tagging and similar technologies are used by scientists/wildlife enthusiasts to study the movements of animals based on their location. Wagr focuses on monitoring a dog’s activities first, while GPS location tracking is just one of its many metrics leveraged for analytics.

The real differentiation came in when the system got incorporated with a 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis accelerometer during its development phase more than a year ago. As gyroscope uses Earth’s gravity to help determine orientation, it gives orientation of movement of the pet dog. The accelerometer gives non-gravitational acceleration data whenever the dog walks or runs.

Software and analytics

The software, which is the soul of Wagr, has two parts. One runs on the smartphone and the other on the server-side analytics platform. Wagr utilises its smartphone application to co-ordinate with the wearable by syncing with it. The wearable sends data to the application, and the application talks to the server for feedback. You get graphs or reports on the smartphone screen just like an end-user report or a dashboard.

The team behind Wagr (L to R): Siddharth Darbha, Advaith Mohan and Ajith Kochery
The team behind Wagr (L to R): Siddharth Darbha, Advaith Mohan and Ajith Kochery

Analytics shows up patterns and dashboard primarily using inputs given by dog behaviourists and trainers, which are fed into the prebuilt evaluation measures in the database. The latter are updated every time a new behaviour or a subsequent change is seen by experts who know the dog’s psychology.
Mixing the above-said information with the analytics part in the background crunches data and analyses it against such parameters in real time. Apache Prediction IO is the tool of choice for the team; it is totally open source.

While dealing with analytical engines, challenges were encountered such as pushing and processing data to the analytics engine and trying to stream in data real time. It had to be based on data from animal movements and orientation, which is a time-consuming process. Once the prebuilt evaluation measure was set and data from wearables started flowing through priority based connectivity based on distance during the earlier days, the team tasted success.

The data now had to be represented in a meaningful yet interactive form, which the mobile application development team took care off. The application features a built-in map, a social networking platform, assistance services and a shopping cart. You can download this application and start syncing the wearable instantly, until the profile of the pet dog pops up on the smartphone screen saying “Hi.”

Louder than words

Wagr’s ecosystem has a photo-driven social platform that could be used to access dog-related services such as vets, food, supplies, accessories, boarding, grooming, dog walkers and dog sitters. The platform brings active communities of dog-parents closer.

wagr spec list

Leveraging this sharing capability through social community groups built into the application, long-term goals that its founders had in mind of co-existing with these lovable creatures could be fulfilled. These include adoption/rehabilitation, training tips and even rescues, all in real time.

Wagr is available across India through registration on its website (www.wagr.in). Thanks to the IoT and the value chain it creates, young and innovative technology community is finding new ways to add value to everyone who shares our planet.

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Shanosh Kumar is technology journalist at EFY. He is BCA from Bangalore University and MBA from Christ University, Bengaluru

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