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TECH SPACE
Tech tethers dog lovers remotely to their pets
By Glenn CHAPMAN
Las Vegas (AFP) Jan 8, 2016


French startup aims to be your cup of wine
Las Vegas (AFP) Jan 8, 2016 - A French startup is looking to change the way people drink wine, one glass at a time.

The device being shown by 10-Vins at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas borrows the idea from the fast-growing single-dose coffee machines such as Nestle's Nespresso and US-based Keurig.

The D-Vine machine delivers a single glass of wine with the correct aeration and temperature using capsules compatible with the device.

"In just one minute, the wine is delivered in the glass at the right temperature," said co-founder Thibaut Jarrousse, who designed the device along with two fellow engineers.

"If you are going to drink wine, you should drink it well."

Each 10-centiliter (3.5-ounce) capsule is aerated to give it the same properties as if it had spent three hours in a carafe, Jarrousse noted. The machine can gently cool or warm the wine as needed.

The company based in the city of Nantes has been selling several varieties of Burgundy and Bordeaux wines in France.

For its US launch, it will offer American vintages.

The single-dose wine enables a host to serve several different varieties to different guests without opening multiple bottles. Each capsule retails for between two and 16 euros ($2.20 to $17.60) and the machine itself costs 499 euros ($550).

"The wine world is in a rut," said oenologist Beatrice Domine, who is collaborating with the group.

"The idea here is to bring people to quality wine in a fun way."

Gadgets galore are letting dog lovers stay connected to their pets even when they can't take canine companions with them on the go.

A sea of innovations on display at the famously people-centric Consumer Electronics Show on Friday included a wave of technology aimed at those who consider pets cherished family members.

"Everybody loves their pets," said Mike Jander of Trackimo, one of several companies showing off tracking devices that can be affixed to collars and reveal where animals run off to.

A Trackimo clip-on device, which was on display at CES, can send an alert to an owner's smartphone if a dog ventures past a geo-fence -- a designated virtual barrier -- and then track the pet's whereabouts by satellite, according to Jander.

- 'Fitbit for dogs' -

Wondermento, which has offices in the US and Britain, showed off a bow-tie-shaped plastic activity tracker -- the Wonderwoof -- that chief technology officer Joe Morsman described as "a Fitbit for dogs."

"There are other pet trackers out there, but this is purely about the health," Morsman said of Wonderwoof.

"This is a fun, social way to exercise your dog."

He recounted leaving his dog at a kennel that promised four long walks daily, only to be shown by the device that the pet got only two brief outings a day.

"We now do home stays with other dog owners," Morsman said.

Applications tailored for mobile devices powered by Apple or Android software come free with the $95 Wonderwoof bow tie.

The apps let users see if other Wonderwoof-wearing dogs are out and about. Wondermento plans to add features allowing those owners to connect with each other while out.

"We are trying to accentuate the social element of walking your dog," Morsman told AFP.

"Wonderwoof is also very much a talking point; people stop you to ask what it is."

Wondermento describes the doggy device as a "fashion-forward brand with a fun social element."

The company is working on an enhanced indoor version that will use location sensing to let people know if pets are pining at a door or making unusually frequent trips to water bowls.

The company is also developing an activity tracker for cats.

- 'Massive market' -

"There is a huge interest in pet wearables," Morsman told AFP.

"It is a massive market."

People don't want to feel they are abandoning their dogs while off at work, he said, and technology is letting them stay virtually tethered.

A Petcube camera that links to wireless internet in homes lets people not only look in on pets but play with them remotely. Owners can use a smartphone app to make a point of laser light appear and flit about in the house while a cat or dog pursues it.

Petcube also has a speaker and microphone so people can talk to pets, whether to comfort them or to stop them from nosing into trash or hopping onto counters.

Petnet was at CES with a SmartBowl that incorporates scales and nutritional information to make sure dogs get just the right amount of food.

"Most people just guess at how much to feed their dogs," said Petnet founder Carlos Herrera. "This lets them know."

The California company also has a SmartFeeder that lets people remotely monitor eating habits and dispense meals.


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