Putting up ‘Have you seen this dog?’ posters around the local neighborhood can only have limited success when a pet has gone missing. A new platform called PiP aims to create a photographic database of found dogs and cats, using facial recognition technology to help match them with lost ones.
Pet owners downloading the free iOS app pay an annual subscription of USD 18 in order to keep their dog or cat registered on the PiP system, which holds details such as their name, location, size and gender, and most crucially clear images of the animal’s face. Users can create an account for each pet they own. If one goes missing, they simply press the ‘amber alert’ button, which sends the details to animal rescue organizations, vets and fellow app users located nearby. When a lost pet is found, its details can also be uploaded onto PiP’s servers, and the system uses facial recognition technology to automatically link found animals with registered pets. Pet owners are immediately notified if their dog or cat has been discovered.
At its core, PiP is essentially a digital version of the lost pet poster, but the added facial recognition element offers a much more easy and accurate way to reunite owners with their pets. Could this system be combined with other technologies — such as GPS — to make lost pets a thing of the past?