13-Year-old Invents Product for Dogs with Separation Anxiety

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 9.6.13 - 13 Year Old's Invention1If you worry about how much your dog misses you while you’re away, a thirteen-year-old girl might have a solution.

Spokane, WA resident Brooke Martin created a device called iCPooch, which will allow you to video chat and give treats to your dog from anywhere.

My dog Kayla suffered from separation anxiety, so I thought it would be really cool to be able to video chat with her while I was away from home to make sure she was OK,” Martin explained. “The idea of delivering her a treat seemed liked it would really make her happy if I could figure out how to do it.”

The finalist for the GM Young Scientist Award pitched the idea at a Startup Weekend event last year, and was met with a standing ovation. She garnered the attention of venture capitalist Tom Simpson, who was eager to get on board. Brooke launched her own company and filed for patents. They are still working on the product, which is in the prototype phase, and hope to have it on store shelves soon.

Some money has been raised, and a Kickstarter campaign has been started. Here is a bit about the iCPooch, taken from the Kickstarter page:


With the iCPooch device connected to a home wireless Internet router, you can deliver a treat from a smart phone, tablet or computer no matter where you are. The device also has an adjustable mounting bracket so that you can attach a tablet or smart phone (not included) and video chat with your pet! The tablet/smart phone operates independently of the iCPooch device, allowing you to use Skype video chat software to auto-answer your calls (we are also working on our own video chat solution). As long as your smart phone/tablet has a microphone and a camera (most all do) and is connected to the internet, you can video chat with Fido at eye level, and in the separate iCPooch app deliver a treat. An estimated 13 million-plus dogs suffer from separation anxiety, and we know that pet owners do, too!

9.6.13 - 13 Year Old's Invention2

The iCPooch device is a combination of a miniature vending machine and a computer. The device acts like a computer, using a motherboard (Raspberry Pi) and Wi-Fi module to connect to the Internet. The computer is attached to a motor that is activated when the owner of the device gives it the “drop treat” command from their remote computing device (smart phone, tablet, PC, etc). A removable/re-loadable sleeve inside the device houses the treats, and one treat is pushed out by the motor arm each time the motor is activated.”

The campaign has only 24 days to reach their funding goal of $75,000 in order for the iCPooch to be created. If you are interested in helping see Brooke’s vision become a reality, please click here.  It could make a really great present for soldiers on tours of duty, out-of-state college students or people traveling who are unable to take their pets with them.



12 thoughts on “13-Year-old Invents Product for Dogs with Separation Anxiety”

  1. It won’t remedy dog separation anxiety. The dog’s primary sensory organ is its nose, then ears, then eyes.
    The girl has made the false logical assumption that the dog thinks and perceives identically to her as a human. What the dog will perceives will be very poor quality distortion of the dog owner’s voice. I don’t think that would calm a dog.
    I doubt she manufactured and sourced the electronic components, duty-tested them, soldered the connections to the motherboard, the microchip, nor programmed the requisite language- I also doubt she fashioned the injection-molded plastic coverings, researched which plastics are non-toxic and resilient for dog-product use etc.
    It seems awfully suspicious and more likely Daddy’s science project.
    I’m pretty sure it has already been done before- probably in clock-work.
    But- only in America- where there are plenty of fools to part with their money- and where of course they invented the wheel and the English language.

    • PS- on retrospection this “canine”anti-anxiety machine functions and features more applicably to alleviate the human owner’s anxiety about them contributing to their dog’s separation anxiety.
      One must bare in mind no matter how “human-like” (our perception of specific canine behavioural quirks we co-opt and choose to label as “human”) dogs may appear, canines have an entirely different thought process to humans and lack the brain tissue we understand is related to higher thought processes (which is found in the higher primates).
      The premise of canine separation anxiety is based on human infant separation anxiety- an extension of fear of abandonment, which intrinsically is a very useful and beneficial evolutionary behaviour for humans- but for infant canines far less important as abandoned wild animal infants can and do survive.
      Therefore, the separation anxiety may not be entirely based on temporary owner “abandonment” but could be even boredom- as the owner provides the dog with plenty of stimulus- and the dog has remained a passive “audience” unaccustomed to amusing itself.

      • Wow, what a negative attitude. You also demonstrate a total lack of understanding of relationship between individuals and their dogs and of the animals themselves.

    • Did U watch the whole video? She says that she and her dad designed the project for a school project. Later in the video, she introduces the members of the team who wrote the software and built the prototype. Before U make a comment that comes off as condescending and rude, get all the facts….like watching the whole video. As for this being on the market before, there have prob been computer programs/video cameras/webcams that could communicate with a person’s dog before. But I don’t recall seeing any that combined that, at the dog’s eye level, AND could dispense a treat. Me thinks that U “poo-poo” any new idea that comes out. If it were up to U, “we” would still be using an outhouse in the 1st world. Take Ur grumpy, negative attitude elsewhere. Not needed on this page!

    • Don’t be so sure. My sister had a dog while she still lived with my mother. The dog was pretty attached to both my sister and my mom, but was more my sister’s dog. Crazy pooch also had pretty bad separation anxiety. When my sister moved across the country from the east coast to the west coast, she was talking to my mom on speaker phone, and the dog went nuts when she heard my mom’s voice. She licked the phone, yipped, and… get this… even SAT when my mom said “Sit” over the phone.

      No, dogs don’t think the same way humans do. However, they have co-evolved with us for tens of thousands of years. We’re tuned into them and they’re tuned into us. And yes, dogs CAN and DO recognize their owners over electronic transmissions.

    • DR – Nice attitude. I’m sure you would like better if she just sat and played video games like most other kids her age. I applaude her attempt at making a difference and creating SOMETHING. How about a little less babble about your pre-conceived theories of canine behavior and a little more praise for a young human using the brain in her head for something positive.

      Get a grip.

  2. Carry on, young inventor. I, for one, will support your work via KickStarter. A pilot test will let you know if the idea has legs. I congratulate you on your cleverness!

  3. Wish you much success! My only concern, once my dog figures out there are treats in that container, afraid it would be chewed, smacked around to get into the treats. Bye-bye unit.


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