Interaction - Bachelors
The NeonPaws is a safe, interactive dog mat that aims to reduce boredom and destructive tendencies in larger dog breeds when left alone. It features a wooden frame with 9 blue LED light-up platforms that randomly activate when stepped on, providing a stimulating experience for dogs based on research into their superior motion and light detection abilities.
It has been found through studies conducted in the United States and Australia that problematic behaviours are one of the most common reasons why dogs are relinquished to shelters. According to the RSPCA, 66.5% of the dogs that were euthanized in the 2020-2021 financial year were due to behaviour issues. Boredom can lead to many behavioural problems such as excessive barking, digging, and destructive behaviour. Furthermore, boredom can also contribute to more serious problems, such as separation anxiety and obsessive-compulsive behaviours. Therefore, it is essential to provide our dogs with sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, so they don’t get bored and frustrated. It is important to note that mental stimulation is just as crucial as physical exercise.
On the market, there are very few mental stimulation toys that are suitable and safe for large dog breeds. This can be frustrating for dog owners who want to provide their pets with engaging and challenging toys that will keep them mentally stimulated. It’s important to ensure that any toys given to large dogs are durable enough while also being safe and non-toxic.
To monitor user actions in this project, an Arduino has been utilized. The pressure plate mechanism, consisting of a simple aluminum switch, is an effective approach to capture user interactions accurately. The spring mechanism, crafted from foam, facilitates straightforward resetting of the pressure plate, making it ideal for repetitive usage. Additionally, LED light strips were used to facilitate the interaction as they can attract a dog’s attention. After researching canine vision, it was discovered that dogs have exceptional motion and light detection abilities compared to humans, but their color vision is limited. Consequently, the LED light strips were set to blue.
Tayla Hendy is a student pursuing a double degree in Interaction Design and IT. Her work reflects her innovative approach, prioritizing non-human centered design that considers the environment and other living beings alongside human needs. Tayla aims to create solutions that positively impact the world.