When your pet dog or cat runs away it is very upsetting and even if someone does find your close companion, they may not know where or how to find you. If your pet winds up in a shelter, the chances are high that it will be euthanised. This is where Philip Rooyakkers, the CEO of PiP – The Pet Recognition Company, comes into play. He decided to see if he and his team could use facial recognition instead of tags to more easily find and therefore report more lost pets.
PiP has recently launched its Indiegogo campaign. The company is looking to raise $100,000 in the next month to complete the final necessary funds to bring the app to the market.
Rooyakkers has said the company’s technology, developed by the image-recognition expert Dr. Daesik Jang, is able to recognize a staggering 98 percent of dogs and cats. Helped along by metadata (breed, size, weight, gender, colors etc.), this means the PiP app can recognize virtually every lost pet. Owners can take advantage of this by signing up for PiP and uploading photos of their pets to the system. The technology then analyzes the pet’s unique facial features via recognition software and then stores the data in its database.
The great thing about this is that anybody can download the app to report found pets. Pet owners, themselves, pay a subscription to PiP (the business model wants to charge $1.49 per month, with 2 percent of all proceeds going to local pet rescue charities) and as soon as their pet goes missing, PiP will then alert local animal control and rescue agencies, veterinarians and social media outlets.
This is in reality an “Amber Alert” for missing pets and it is the core idea of what the service accomplishes. It will also scan social media for postings about found pets. “We will not only broadcast across all social media that the pet is missing, but everyone with the app (in that locale) will get a pop-up Amber Alert. We will contact the owner directly to listen, provide PiP’s immediate response, and offer support,“ Rooyakkers said in a statement. Whenever a pet is found, PiP will use its facial recognition software to see if it can find a match in its database. To avoid false positives, somebody will always look at the metadata to ensure everything is correct.
Obviously, there are a few other ways to identify lost pets, including the current ID Tags and microchip implants. However, there are various standards for microchips, so not every clinic can scan every chip, there is no universal microchip. Facial recognition, however, would also allow anybody to scan dogs or cats right after finding them without the need for any special equipment, which should make reuniting them with their, by now, frantic owners faster and easier than before.
[Image via indiegogo]