June 6, 2013
Whistle Uses Big Data To Keep Dogs In Top Health
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online
San Francisco-based start-up Whistle wants to help pet owners and vets spot early signs that a dog may be sick.
The company unveiled its new activity-tracking device on Wednesday, which clips onto a dog´s collar and provides continuous monitoring of the dog's activity and rest patterns, providing early detection of subtle changes that could suggest more serious health problems.
The smartly designed device resembles a puck-like metal disc, roughly one-and-a-half inches in diameter, atop a ring of LED indicators and a slim plastic base. The Whistle is completely waterproof and easily twists in and out of a collar strap, which is included with the device.
Inside the Whistle are a number of sensors, including accelerometers, which measure a dog's resting and activity states. The device is also equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi radios, for easy wireless syncing.
However, what distinguishes the Whistle is that it contextualizes the data it collects from a dog, discerning between different types of activity. For instance, it uses existing veterinary research to break down owner-driven playtime versus self-initiated activity.
Whistle says this is important because dogs are incredibly loyal and will follow owner initiatives, even if they are experiencing health issues or discomfort.
The Whistle device records all of a dog´s daily resting and activity patterns, and plots them along graphs over time to help identify trends and anomalies that might indicate a potential issue. Dog owners can access all of the data through a web interface and track activity on a smartphone app.
Whistle said it has been working with leading veterinary schools to create a large database of dog health information, and is also working with veterinarians to create printable reports that dog owners can bring with them to annual checkups.
The Whistle will sell for $99.95, and does not require monthly subscription fees like some pet trackers. Interested dog owners can visit Whistle.com to pre-order the device. Shipments are expected to begin this summer.
Whistle also announced on Wednesday that it has raised a $6 million Series A financing round led by DCM Ventures.