FitBark Has Another Go At Proving Its Health Tracker For Dogs Isn’t Barking Mad


Bored of quantifying your self already? Why not quantify your pet instead? FitBark is a Fitbit style health tracker for your under-walked canine companion. We’ve covered this (frankly) barking mad gizmo before, back in May, when its creators were exhibiting at Hardware Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt NY but they’ve now taken to Kickstarter to raise funds to get the device out in the wild. Again.

It’s actually FitBark’s second attempt at Kickstarting the gizmo. As Gigaom points out, its creators pulled an earlier attempt at crowdfunding the device in order to rethink the business model, scrapping the monthly subscription fee and opting for a fixed price-tag of $69 via Kickstarter or $99 for general retail.

FitBark are after $35,000 to cover manufacturing costs this time around, and are more than half-way to achieving the target with 32 days left to run on the campaign – so crazy or otherwise, this is one hardware startup that’s pretty much a dead cert for its first manufacturing run-around-the-park at least.

Now I say barking mad but that’s mostly tongue-in-cheek, being as FitBark is not the only health tracker angling for pet owners’ cash. Whistle, a startup backed by $6 million in Series A funding, launched a $99 wearable activity tracker for dogs only last month. There’s also Tagg, which combines activity and location tracking by including GPS in its device. So underestimate the pet-owning dollar at your peril.

So what does FitBark actually do? Attach it to your dog’s collar and it tracks daily’s activity levels, sending the data back to FitBack’s servers when your smartphone is in range, or throughout the day if you purchase a dedicated FitBark base station (and keep you pet penned up at home while you’re out). The latter scenario would allow owners to keep remote tabs on their pet’s activity levels when they’re not at home, but unless you own a mansion (or employ a dog walker) your dog isn’t going to be able to do a whole lot of running around without you. FitBark then crunches all the activity data, offering customisable daily activity goals, and delivering the results back to you via an app. So far, so kinda sane.

At its more barking mad fringe, the FitBark also lets pet owners compare – well, they say “unify” – their own fitness with their dog’s fitness/activity. So yeah, boasting that you are fitter than Fido is apparently a thing now…

FitBark is also the first platform that leverages existing APIs of human fitness trackers to bring you a unified view of your fitness level and that of your dog. From the outset, FitBark will seamlessly receive input from your Nike Fuelband, Fitbit, Withings Pulse, or Bodymedia Fit. We’ll look to expand the list as we learn about new open APIs or partnership opportunities. If you’re not only a devoted dog parent but are also serious about tracking your own fitness, you’ll love this.

Zim Is A 3D Printer For The ‘No Muss, No Fuss’ Mainstream


The 3D printer market looks set to swell in size over the coming years, as the appeal of 3D printing builds – shifting from being the preserve of makers and hobbyists (and TC’s own John Biggs), to something that more mainstream consumers and business users feel comfortable dabbling with. But in order to get there 3D printers need to get easier to use. They need to feel more approachable to Average Joe.

One example of the consumer-focused makeovers going on in this space is the touchscreen-packing Zeus all-in-one copy machine, currently calling for funds on Kickstarter. And here’s another, in its words, “consumer-oriented” 3D printer, also seeking crowdbacking to ship a printer that doesn’t look like it wants to extrude plastic all over your settee. Zim is not as elaborate as Zeus; it’s merely a 3D printer, not a scanner and copy shop all-in-one. But less may well be more when it comes to convincing a mainstream user to try a newfangled technology.

“The use and maintenance of many 3D personal printers available on the market today requires extensive technical knowledge, as well as hours of assembly, before you can start to print your first 3D object,” argue Zim’s Stamford-based makers, Zeepro, on their Kickstarter page. “We wanted to create a 3D personal printer which was ready to use, straight out of the box.”

Zim’s consumer concessions include what its makers describes as “fully plug & play” operation (with the printing process being condensed to: connect the printer to the Internet, download a model, open the Zim app, print); a sleek-looking aluminium frame; the ability to control and view progress on the current print via a smartphone app thanks to the printer’s onboard camera (so rather than having to stand by the printer waiting to see if it’s finished making your replica plastic sphinx yet, you can check in on how it’s looking via an app); a cartridge system for easily loading different filament colours into the printer (and also refillable cartridges if you want to add your own filament).

The printer packs Ethernet and Wi-Fi – allowing it to also be remotely controlled from a computer web browser, as well as via the Zim app. Other neat tricks up Zim’s sleeve are dual extruders in its print head so multiple colours can be printed at once. Or you can use one extruder to print a water-soluble PVA plastic support material to simplify the process of printing more complex objects, as demonstrated in the video below.

Zim can print up to 50 microns per layer. The print volume area is 205 cubic inches (5.9″x5.9″x5.9″). And at its fastest, it can print 3D objects at 110 mm/s.

What about price? The high price-tag of many 3D printers remains a huge barrier to mainstream adoption – albeit, analyst Gartner expects prices to be squeezed over the next few years as more large multinational retailers start stocking devices, helping to drive demand and trim price-tags.

Zim is being offered to early Kickstarter backers for a ‘special price’ of $599, and a ship date of March 2014. Expect the retail price to be higher – likely around the $899 mark. Zeepro’s Kickstarter campaign has raised around two-thirds of the $300,000 target so far, with 20 days left to run.

The Moment To Hunt Demons Is Now With Akaneiro

We’ve been keeping you up to date on all things Akaneiro and now we’re happy to inform you that Akaneiro Demon Hunter from Spicy Horse is now live. You can join in on the free to play Action RPG at Spicy Horse or by means of Kongregate for PC or MAC.

Akaneiro currently features 20 maps and content with more on the way, including Steam integration. The game is available for free but another option is a one time $20 “unlock all maps” fee that grants access to all content and maps to the impatient immediately.

The Akaneiro Kickstarter is coming to an end soon and has acquired over $160,000. If the Kickstarter reaches its goal, mobile and Linux versions of Akaneiro as well as co-op will be made available in the future.

Akaneiro is based on Red Riding Hood and steeped in Japanese mythology and folklore. It was developed by American McGee’s Spicy Horse and is available for download here.

Divinity Original Sin Gets KickStarted

Larian Studios, is happy to announce that their KickStarter campaign for Divinity: Original Sin reached its funding goal. This allows for Larian to offer a more expansive and in-depth game, as well as Linux and Mac versions.

Divinity: Original Sin is an open world RPG that features a turn based combat with both single and co-op modes. Shipping with the game is the editor that the developers used to make the game, which makes Divinity, the first RPG in quite some time to feature an editor that supports multiplayer.

Read on for all the official details and press release.

Key Features:
Class-Free Progression – Choose skills, abilities, and gear to create the character that ‘you’ want.
Cooperative Play – Drop-in/drop-out cooperative multiplayer with full-featured RPG gameplay for both players.
Skill and Spell Combos – A block of ice can be melted with fire, turned into a lethal pool of electricity, and refrozen into a slippery trap. This is one example of the many interactions possible.
Meaningful Dialogue – For better or worse, your conversations have actual and noticeable impacts in the game-world. When playing cooperatively, both players have a say in the outcome.
Open-World Gameplay – No artificial constraints to keep players from exploring the world or level-scaling to coddle you. If you are too weak for an area, you will quickly learn your lesson.
Editor – Full suite of editing tools – the same used by the developers – to create completely new environments and adventures.

About Larian Studios
Larian Studios is an independent game developer located in Ghent, Belgium. The company develops all kinds of games for all kinds of platforms that are played by millions of people all over the world, with some of the best-known being the Divinity RPG series.

Pertinent Details

Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Larian Studios
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Genre: Cooperative (or SP) Turn-Based Fantasy RPG
Release Date: Later this year
Price: TBA

Calling All Cat Ladies, CatLand Needs Your Help

Cue up the Sarah McLaughlin music and imagine a lonely virtual kitten in need of your assistance. Lost And Found Games are seeking funding for CatLand, an interactive pet app, and have started a Kickstarter campaign. Your donation can save the lives of many virtual cats and will help them find homes on the smartphones they deserve.

Catland is similar to the Tamagotchi‘s that were so popular a few years back. If you are unable to have a pet for any reason, why not have a virtual pet? CatLand also features a check in feature that offers entertainment and a change of scenery for your fake feline friend.

Check out the video below and remember being a cat lady is only crazy if you are found out. Keep your secret safe by being a virtual cat lady with CatLand.

OZombie: We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

American McGee‘s Spicy Horse has revealed that it’s working on a re-telling of the Oz story called OZombie. Dorothy, Toto, the lion and the tin woodsman are the games protagonists while the scarecrow is now a villain still seeking brains! Dorothy abandons her basket and now wields a repeater.

Described as an “Oz not of our remembering”, OZombie mixes the undead with the perfect setting of the beloved Oz that has captured our hearts and minds for many years.

OZombie will possibly be the first of two new projects Spicy Horse has on tap. The other being, Alice: Otherlands. The studio is hoping to gain the Alice rights from EA and if an agreement is met, they may go ahead with the familiar Alice setting next and perhaps try a Kickstarter campaign for OZombie. Fan response to OZombie is strong, and American McGee has even stated he’s possibly leaning towards Oz first.