Interim Update Oktober 2017

Tools Manufacturing

It is done! We have received the sample parts and have already processed them into collars. We are really happy! They look beautiful and the material itself feels very pleasant. At this point we would like to give a big thank you to our tools manufacturer. The tools for the collar are very complex and only minor corrections need to be done. Very well done! This, of course, means we should be able to stick to our schedule.

We will also increase the colour intensity in the soft component of the collar as it is slightly too transparent. One of our test cats is already wearing our new collar and is testing it extensively.

The¬†HomeStation¬†(receiver and charger)¬†is also very nice. Now we can¬†soon¬†start¬†with the big production. An absolutely exciting phase! ūüôā

Cornfield- Test

We were asked by several cat holders whether our collar also works well in cornfields. Especially in hot weather, many cats go into cornfields searching for the pleasant shadow and hunting for mice. We have taken this question seriously and fortunately found a corn field nearby (not many are left). The test was very positive. Cornfields do not pose a challenge for our collar. The corn grows very straight into the sky and the farmer leaves about 40-50cm distance in between. This allows for very good visibility to the satellites and the location of the cat or collar itself is very accurate. Here are the pictures of the tests.

It has to be noted that the farmers will usually not be happy for cat owners to wander about in their cornfields.

 

If someone wants to have further scenarios tested or wants to find out if the collar works in a certain place or environment then please contact us. Maybe we have already tested this or would then carry out the appropriate tests.

We hope everyone a good week.

Kind regards,
Alan & Claudio

Project Update September 2017


We’ll keep this update short as another one is on its way. We have some very good news!

Tools Manufacturing

The tools for mass production have now been created and we have already received the first pictures of the samples. The samples themselves are now on their way to us to Switzerland and upon receipt we will check them carefully to make sure that everything is perfect. We are back on schedule and there is nothing else foreseen that could lead to more delays.

Web portal

We have also completed our new web portal in the meantime and have tested it internally. From this week on our testers will switch to our new web portal one by one and start to test it. At the same time we will be working on improving and optimizing it even further.

Factsheet

We have now created a factsheet which explains the product itself, its functionality and its most important features. It can also be downloaded from our online shop and forwarded to potential buyers: petTracer Factsheet.

In less than 3 months we will be delivering the first collars and we are really looking forward to it. We will be even more pleased when cat owners won’t have to be afraid anymore of losing their cats thanks to our collar.

We wish everyone a nice week.

Kind regards,
Alan & Claudio

Interim Update September 2017

On 25.08.2017 the newspaper “Wohler Anzeiger” published an article about us. If you have not read it yet (available only in German) you can do so here: Project Update 2017.

Last Thursday (07.09.2017) we had a visit from Mr. Zumb√ľhl, a journalist from “ZT Medien”. I was asked to give a newspaper interview which was published on Saturday. Exposure like this is very valuable for us as a startup company and I would like to thank Mr. Zumb√ľhl. The interview and the subsequent photo session with Topolino and Wulfi were a lot of fun. Please click on the picture if you want to read the article (available only in German at the moment).

Questions

We are happy to answer some of the questions we have received over the past few weeks.

Is the petTracer set from the pilot series a fully functional product?Yes. The pilot series production is equivalent to the market product. The pilot series is used by the manufacturer to review the production steps and to optimize them as necessary. The pilot series is also used to set up and program the machinery.

How long does the battery last?
This is a very good question and a difficult one to answer. The operating time of one battery charge depends on many factors. For example, whether the cat is very active and how many satellites are nearby. We have carried out measurements resulting in 300 – 500 GPS positions. This is a multiple (about 10 times more) of what other types of similar GPS trackers on the market can do. And all this with a total weight of only 30g! Thus the petTracer GPS cat collar strap is also the lightest GPS cat collar ever made.

Is the GPS cat collar also available in other colors?
No. For the time being the collar is only available in anthracite. The adjustable straps will be available in approx. 7 different colors. They also serve the purpose of making the collars distinguishable.

If you have not ordered a GPS cat collar yet you still have the possibility to do so in our online shop: Online Shop.

Recommendation

Please spread the word. Every little helps and all kinds of recommendations are very valuable to us. Thank you very much.

Best wishes and we hope you all had a good start into the week.
Alan & Claudio

Project Update August 2017

Successful Pre-Sale

There was a big run for our pre sale. We would like to thank everyone very much for this and also for believing in us. The pilot series is almost sold out and only a few collars are left. So if anybody else wants to have one by this year, you should order one as soon as possible. We are of course grateful for any recommendations.

You can visit our shop here: online store

Newspaper Article

On Friday 25.08.2017, the newspaper “Wohler Anzeiger” published a nice article about us. At this point a big thank you to Sabrina Salm. She wrote the article and ensured that it was published. For startup companies such publications are a very big help.

To read the article, please click on the picture (the article is only available in German)

Project Progress

We started with the purchasing of electronics. Furthermore, we are well on schedule with the tool manufacturing. The concept and the drawings have been created, the details verified. The tools are now physically being made.

Webportal

In order to increase the GPS accuracy, we have implemented a “plausibility check”. By means of a quality filter, we evaluate how exact a GPS position is and decide whether it should be displayed or not. The larger the circle, the less accurate the position. The evaluation has shown that we achieve very good results even in the forest. This is very pleasing. The largest circles and thus most inaccurate measurements the collar was predominantly in the houses.

We wish everyone a nice week.
Alan & Claudio

Project Update July 2017

Dear Readers

It is time for another monthly update.

Project Update

Last month we were able to give the go ahead for the tooling manufacturing after clarifying the final details. Our manufacturer immediately began with the design work and concept. Once the concept validation is done, he will begin with the physical production of  the tools. This will be  in the middle of August.

The test production run will be finished around mid October and is then validated by us. Improvements and final adjustments will be made by the end of October. The pilot series is then carried out in early November. If only a few improvements are necessary the production will be finished earlier of course.

In order to deliver to our Indiegogo customers before the end of the year, we decided to go for the more cost-intensive option. The tools itself are not produced in Switzerland and delivery takes around 5 weeks. We will now produce a batch directly on site and deliver it to Switzerland. At the same time the electronics is manufactured. We can then begin assembly in November and immediately start with the delivery.

This is not quite what we had hoped for time wise but we were able to finally complete the most important production steps.

Testing

July and August are¬†holiday¬†months and many of our testers are enjoying a well deserved break. However, we have already been able to test¬†for the past¬†few months¬†and have concluded that the electronics as well as the¬†collar¬†case and design¬†are fully functional.¬†Tests however,¬†will be¬†continued and the GPS¬†cat collars will¬†feed our servers with valuable data. None of our testers want to¬†return¬†their¬†collars¬†… and we are, of course, happy about it¬†ūüôā

Pre Sale

Due to the countless purchase requests over the past few months we have managed to increase the pilot series production (from which all pre-orders of our Indiegogo campaign are served). This gives us the possibility to consider further orders for the first delivery! Due to the limited quantity we will handle the additional pre-orders on a first come first serve basis. Take advantage of this unique opportunity! As soon as the limited total number is reached, we CANNOT further increase production for this year. The next delivery will take place in 2018.

If you would like to participate in our pre sale please visit our shop here: Online Shop

Kind regards,
Alan & Claudio

 

Project Update June 2017

Here is a short and sweet update about the previous month.

Testing

We now have many testers who test the petTracer GPS collar on their cats. This is very exciting and generally speaking we can confirm that many cats have a very similar behavior. Thanks to the collars we were able to do some “cat stalking”. Here are some of the funny impressions we’ve managed to collect.

With these expressions on their faces one cannot but love cats, even if they themselves did not seem very pleased.

Analysing a cat’s territory

Positions are recorded over short or long periods of time, depending on the operating mode. This makes it possible to plot the terrotries of cats on a long-term display. Here we have an evaluation of Elvis as an example. It is interesting to see that many cats posses a natural instinct and roam their territories set by an inner clock. However, there are factors we have observed, that can affect this behaviour at various levels. Such observed factors are a new cat in the area, change of rhythm of dog handler (change of walking time), change of the weather (very hot, very cold). Extraordinary events such as tree cutting or construction work etc. or external feeding. If you continue to observe the cat, you can see that the cat’s rhythm resettles after some time.

Tool manufacturing

We have now found a very capable toolmaker and we are in the process of clarifying the final details. In the July update we should finally be able to inform you about a possible delivery date. Now we are undertaking the final touches to the product  in order to make it market ready.

News from the neighbourhood

I noticed that our test cat Elvis very often roams around a kiwi plant in the neighbourhood. Coincidentally, we now also own a kiwi plant and have it on our terrace. Funnily enough, we now often find Topolino on the terrace by the plant. I found this somewhat curious and researched “cats” and “kiwi plants” on the Internet. It turns out that cats love kiwi plants¬† and get euphoric from the juice or fragrance. However, when I went back to the office, I was confronted with the following situation:

Instead of being hyperactive and euphoric, Topolino had dived into a deep slumber and I believe that not even 10 horses could have woken him up!

Thank you for reading.
Alan & Claudio

Project Update May 2017

Test Cat

It is already the end of May and therefore time for a new project update. Since the collars are only partially visible in the published photos or not at all, we have made a short video of our most active test cat. Here he is wearing the petTracer GPS cat collar on top of a tick collar. Optically the light band is of course not ideal for a black cat but at least it is visible.

Colour Choice

In the beginning we will only be able to produce the cat collar in one colour. After careful consideration, we decided to go with the color “anthracite”. The whole set looks very elegant in this colour. The extension bands will be available in different colours and create a beautiful contrast to the anthracite. Here is a small preview:

Tool Manufacturing

It is annoying but the tooling is taking longer than expected. Our manufacturer is not able to handle the complexity of the collar manufacturing tool as originally communicated. The delivery date itself is also very long. Therefore, we are currently looking at alternative providers and hope to start building the tools as soon as possible. This is the last module in line needed for production. Once we have a reliable tooling manufacturer we can then finally announce a delivery date.

Web Portal

Our Beta-Portal will be ready soon. New features will be added and the overall handling will be simplified for our test users. We will also be able to carry out stress tests and check the overall system for its robustness. Here is a 24 hour view from the territory of one of our test cat.

Something Funny

Once a week our test cats hold a meeting. The test results of the previous week are discussed as well as the goals for the coming week. There is also currently a debate about forming a test cat union. Above all, Wulfi, the oldest of our test cats, worries about his retirement. They have cut down his food by a 1/4 and the amount of attention he gets has drastically reduced since the offsprings’ arrival (two kittens). He has now been diagnosed with the infamous “mistress attention deficit”. At this point he would like to thank his employer, petTracer, for being allowed to continue this precious work for the company and to make a valuable contribution to the development of the GPS cat collar.

We wish you a very nice and sunny day.
Kind regards,
Alan & Claudio

Project Update April 2017

News

WOW! Where to start with our report? The past weeks have been  almost overwhelming. It is difficult to summarize all the impressions, experiences and test results. Now we are even more motivated to involve as many of you as soon as possible by delivering the collar to you. We can tell you one thing for sure: there is hardly a nicer experience than to see a beloved cat (presumably) disappeared and then retrieved with the petTracer GPS cat collar. To witness the relief and pleasure of the cat owners is the sweetest confirmation our project has yet received.

Review

Although the weather has been rather bad for the last few weeks … or because of this we could test very successfully.

Battery life test
– the collar remained in the same position and measured 480 position over 5 days. This is 4 per hour or one position every 15 minutes. For comparison, other devices measure just 42 positions and are empty within 10 hours even though they are bigger and bulkier and have an up to 3 times bigger battery capacity. As you can see, our collar is now extremely efficient!

– the collar was worn by a highly active cat and the battery lasted 49h with a very high number of position measurements (378).

– the aim of the current test is to find suitable settings for the battery to last for approx. 4 weeks. Current calculations show that this will be possible.

Robustness test
– None of the collars broke during the tests! No matter how many times the collar had been put on and taken off the cats. Not matter if the weather was wet, cold, sunny, snowy or there was hail, the electronics and the collar case held flawlessly.

Stresstest
This week we will start our laboratory stress test. The collar will be bent by a robot under the most adverse conditions.

Range tests
The radio antenna and electronics have now been optimally adapted to the final case material. We have achieved an incredibly high range under best conditions. Under standard conditions a large area can be well covered. None of the test cats had left the radio range.

The movement detector
Thanks to the integrated motion sensor, we now know if and when a cat moves. This information can be used in a variety of ways. For example if it makes sense to actually determine a GPS position or not.

Safety Buckle Test
The safety buckle works reliably (same as in the first field test) and we are confident that it will do so in the future. We did a little re-design but are still using the same well tested buckle.

Other long-term tests
We will now continue to involve more testers (already selected) and carry out long-term tests. This is important for us to gain even more experience and to have constant data for our web portal. This ensures the efficiency of the development of our web portal.

Final Development & Innovation

On the basis of the test results, we can now claim that our innovation & development stage for the hardware (collar & receiver) has been completed. We are now focusing on completing our web portal and Smartphone apps as well as the optimization of the production processes, manufacturing aids, tooling manufacturing and the completion of the test software for mass production. Furthermore we have to take care of the electronics acquisition and are waiting for the contract of the first mass production.

Best wishes and see you soon.
Alan & Claudio

Project Update March 2017

News regarding prototype production

We have good news! In the last update we reported a production delay of the cat collar due to a supply shortage. The components were being held up at customs but they have  arrived and the collar electronics are now fully manufactured. The Homestation (receiver) had already been successfully put into operation in the meantime. Last week, we were able to get the collar working with the new firmware.

Testing, testing, testing….

And now it is time for the final tests! As we implemented a lot of changes in the electronics, we cannot do without them, especially as these tests had proven to be extremely valuable for the previous prototypes. The hardware test has already been successfully completed. Now we will proceed with the stress tests. These test the product for its robustness and longevity. Afterwards the user tests (mini field test, the cats carrying the collars) and the user experience (web portal test) tests will follow. The final mini field test will be carried out over Easter.

Next Steps

At the same time we will be discussing the next steps for the pilot series with our manufacturer, sign the appropriate contracts and order the needed tools. Tooling is now the most time intensive aspect and our last bottleneck. We will also take care of the material purchase at an early stage so that we will not experience any unpleasant surprises again. We are now very well on our way and after successful tests over Easter things will move very quickly. We will finally be able to celebrate the delivery to our loyal Indiegogo customers. We look forward to publishing another update soon.

Kind regards
Alan & Claudio

Project Update February 2017

This is a short technical update but we hope that it is nevertheless understandable for everyone.

Since we last updated you, the electronics for the receivers (HomeStation) have been fully manufactured and put into operation with the new firmware. There were no major problems as expected. Currently the cases are being fabricated in our 3D printer. All we need is a little time since we have already done all the preparatory work. How a 3D printer works and what it looks like  is shown in our video published in the May 2016 update: http://gpskatzenhalsband.com/2016/0 6/projektupdate-mai-2016. We are still fascinated by this innovation and if you have not seen it yet, you should definitely check out the video.

We ran into some complications with regards to the collar productions. But they are now solved. Originally the Flex-Print could not be produced in time. But after a successful search for an alternative flex-print-producer we managed it. Now we have two suppliers and this will certainly have a positive effect on our future production.

Everything is now ready for the PCB assembly. Unfortunately we have an unusually long delay for one single component. This is annoying because it was ordered early in January with a delivery time of 3-4 days. There is currently a “bottleneck” and the delivery date has been shifted 3 times already. We now hope that the delivery, as promised, will take place this week. If this is the case we can proceed with the production and have the collar electronics ready this week. We can then fit the prints into the case and test thoroughly.

Such production delays are not unusual but they are, of course, very annoying. We will publish another update as soon as we are in possession of the new sets. On the other hand, it is a great relief that we now have a reliable manufacturer, who is able to carry out productions of greater quantities (mass production). And one who now possesses fully implemented production processes which work. A lot of production know-how has been elaborated together and we are glad to undertake future productions with a competent partner. The focus now lies on increasing the efficiency even further.

As our firmware programmer has done his work so far (and exceptionally good), we gladly allowed him a week of skiing holidays.

He definitely earned it. Take a look at this fantastic mountain (the Matterhorn Zermatt) and view. Just beautiful!

Kind regards,
Alan & Claudio