It happens to all of us: you fumble with the keys to your pre-war apartment complex, drag your tired feet up three flights of creaky steps, and then—before you can even get the key in the door—your dog is bouncing and barking on the other side of the door. It’s the telltale signs of love, excitement, and “Where the heck have you BEEN all day, human?!”

Nothing beats coming home to your always enthusiastic best friend, but there’s also that inescapable feeling of guilt. After all, 9-5 is a long stretch of time to be napping on the couch, scratching your ears, and barking at squirrels out the window while your human is MIA. 

PlayDate seeks to shake things up during your workday with its new smart ball. Founders Kevin Li and Anthony Chien proudly declare PlayDate the first and only “remote pet camera available with two-way interaction.” Through an app on your iPhone or Android, you can control the movement of the smart ball from your office chair while your pooch leaps and skids around the apartment.

But before you imagine yourself blindly crashing a robotic ball against the leg of the table over and over while Rover sprawls out unwittingly in another room, take note that PlayDate is fully equipped with a camera. The image is stabilized and smooth, so you won’t become nauseated when stealthily playing with your dog while sitting through yet another pointless meeting that—let’s be honest—should have been an email. Thanks to this camera, you can seek out your dog, control the ball’s movements with purpose, and—best of all—witness Fido’s elation about being able to play with you at 2 PM on a Tuesday.

You might be wondering how he’ll know it’s you [and he will]. When you use the PlayDate smart ball, you can actually speak to and hear your pup, thanks to microphones and speakers embedded in the durable [and replaceable] polycarbonate outer shell. Short of having Hermione’s Time-Turner, this is the closest you can get to being two places at once.

If you think the Foxys and Buds of the world deserve a PlayDate with their humans, you can find out how to support them on Indiegogo.


A group of dog lovers that enjoy a good game of fetch in the park, a cold drink at a sidewalk patio, and Instagramming dog selfies with the best of them. We're working hard to find the best stories about our shared dog culture for you and your best friend.