While it should not be used as a replacement for microchipping pets, a new app has hit the market that would allow users to ID their fur babies via facial recognition if they’ve slipped their collars and accompanying tags.
Techies will surely love the idea, but those with privacy concerns will likely hate it. If you land somewhere in the middle of the debate, just remember that anyone suggesting it can or should replace microchipping at this point should think again. Unless your pooch’s face is available in real-time or it’s stored in a robust database, the technology is essentially useless should they wander off.
That’s why you should still chip your pets. If they turn up at a shelter or vet’s office equipped with a chip reader and you’ve kept their info up to date, you can still be reunited with your fuzzy love bug. Yes, over the years, some facilities have been accused of not scanning pets for chips when they are processed during intake, but more do than not, so don’t let that put you off.
In the meantime, this AI technology could be used to enhance your pet’s current safety net. So, who’s behind it, and where can you get it? The app is called Petnow, and it’s being touted as the first biometric identification app using a dog’s unique nose print and a cat’s face core to identify them.
Marketed as non-invasive, once the app’s database is built up with lost or missing animals across the country, it has the potential to be a terrific way to track lost pets.
Petnow’s facial recognition is said to work even when animals are in motion. If you’re interested, it’s available on the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store right now. According to the description, all you need to do is, download the app, point your phone’s camera at your pet pal’s mug, and then let the artificial intelligence perform a scan.
Once it’s completed, your pet will automatically be registered, and a profile will be created for them. From there, it’s linked to your user contact information. The best part? It’s free to use at this time.
This is a distinct improvement over the microchipping process, where it’s up to you to make sure you have not only registered the chip number but that you keep your address, email, and or telephone number associated with it current.
After you have a valid profile, you can use Petnow to report your pet missing. The app will alert you if someone finds them, but it’s unclear whether you have to have a pet profile in order to use it. If that’s the case, petless people who find strays wouldn’t necessarily be able to scan their nose or face to see if there’s a match with an animal reported missing.
Along the same vein is whether veterinarians will be able to access data on Petnow. If it appears that it has the potential for being a powerful tool for reuniting people and pets, it could absolutely go through the roof.
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