Rovers’ return: A TV remote for dogs (yes, it has a paws button)

The doggie TV remote
The doggie TV remote
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A PROTOTYPE of the first dog TV remote, with extra-large buttons for clumsy paws, has been created by a Yorkshire firm, allowing pets to control the TV when their owner leaves the room.

Leeds-based pet food maker Wagg worked with Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, PhD Researcher in Animal Computer Interaction Design at the University of Central Lancashire, to develop the prototype which will allow canines to control the TV for the first time.

The remote marks the next step in the growing trend of animal computer interaction, which they say will see more pet-focused apps and interactive toys over the past few years.

Ilyena said: “Recent research found the average dog now watches more than nine hours of TV a week, showing that technology is already playing a huge part in our pets’ lives.

The prototype is used in a similar way to a normal TV remote and has been specially designed for dogs with hard-wearing waterproof plastic. It includes:

• Paw-friendly buttons with raised surfaces to avoid paw slippage

• Yellow and blue colours. Although dogs generally have a 240 degree vision, they have fewer colour sensitive cones than humans, which results in them being red-green colour blind preferred colours for dogs

• Squeak sounds that omit a lower-intense frequency and appeal to dogs

• A hole to attach a rope toy for the dog to interact with and carry the remote

The model remote is currently being trialled, with experts monitoring dog’s reactions to the buttons, sounds and colours. Following the analysis stage, Wagg will approach tech companies with a view of putting the model into production.