High-tech detective: New facial recognition iPhone app unites lost dogs with desperate owners
It's a dog owner's worst nightmare.
The feeling of helplessness that comes from learning that a cherished four-legged pal has gone missing is enough to drive a pooch parent into a hopeless depression. Although there are networks of search-and-rescue groups and a myriad of online databases, finding rover depends on a person recognizing the physical features of the animal. What's there to do other than post placards all over the hood?
A new iPhone app aims to change that.
Finding Rover has a "bark" sound button that's intended to grab the animal's attention.
Finding Rover leverages advanced facial recognition software to match lost dogs with desperate owners. More than 20,000 users have signed on for the service since the software launched five weeks ago.
The geo-aware app works somewhat like the Amber Alert broadcast emergency response system. Whenever a user registers a lost dog and uploads a photo, Finding Rover sends a notification to other users who are within a 10-mile radius of the location. Those that find wandering dogs can snap a photo and report it as missing.
For the facial recognition feature to work, the dog has to look straight into the camera. To make such a task easier, Finding Rover has a "bark" sound button that's intended to grab the animal's attention.
Finding Rover was developed by Discovery Bay, Calif.-residents John and Kristie Polimeno. The husband-and-wife duo, who were in the construction business, had funded a dog facial recognition research project at the University of Utah. The idea of offering the techie capabilities to the masses transpired while having coffee at a Starbucks. Roused by a handful of lost dog posters pinned in a community board, the couple decided to take a bite out of this all-too-common problem.
The app is available for iPhone and iPad users. An Android version is in the works.