SAN JOSE, Calif. — A pet collar that incorporates a flash-memory card and USB technology has won the inaugural PetSafe IdeaFetch pet product invention contest.
Pet product maker PetSafe Inc. (Knoxville, Tenn.), the sponsor of the event, said that more than 5,000 people entered the U.S. contest for the chance to win $40,000 along with having their idea developed and sold nationwide.
The winning idea, dubbed the MicroID Collar, is for cats and dogs. It was developed by Jonathan Warren of West Palm Beach, Fla.
The product works by incorporating a flash-memory card and a USB controller into the pet's collar. The device has an electronic journal for storing all pet and owner information. To enter pet data onto the card, insert the card into a computer and follow the step-by-step instructions.
The advantage for a person finding a lost pet with the MicroID Collar is that they can know multiple points of contact for the owner, any medical concerns if treatment is necessary and other specific pet care needs.
"For the past 14 years, my dog Cookie has liked to run wild. With the growing number of cars and roads, I want to ensure I find my dog before any car does," Warren said. "My father gave me the human version of the MicroID when I was younger, so I invented a similar version to help locate lost pets and log important information."
The Pet Fire Alert Collar took second place and was designed by Gail Eicken of New Jersey. The Pet Fire Alert Collar works in conjunction with any standard home smoke detector.
When a household smoke detector alarm sounds, the collar activates and produces a series of flashing lights and an audible sound. The lights and sound alert a pet owner and firefighters, which can then find the pet's location. The lights and sound will not stop until a button on the collar is reset.
“My husband has been a volunteer fireman for 25 years and noticed how pets are often lost because they run and hide during a fire. This invention is worth my time and effort if it saves just one pet," said Eicken.
Third place winner, Brenda Cole of Maryland, wanted to provide a way for pets to escape in the event of a house fire and created the Home-Alone Pet Fire Escape.
This also works with any standard smoke detector. The product proposes the placement of a wireless device on pet doors, crates, or gate doors that would unlock and open the doors in the event a smoke detector sounds. There is no guarantee the pet would be able to escape the fire, but they would at least have a fighting chance if they weren't locked up.
"My worst nightmare is a catastrophic fire while I'm away, in which my cats and dogs have no chance to escape the house," said Cole.