Technology has long been used for animals, such as the electronic tagging of birds and bees for research, or the “ingestibles” that sit in dairy cows’ stomachs and provide information on maximising milk production. But the pet-tech market is growing rapidly – one report estimated the worldwide pet wearable market would hit $2.3bn by 2022 . Noel Edmonds phoned my cat | Peter Ormerod Nowell is working on other products, including a PitPat for cats, which will tell you where your cat has been (and which neighbours have been feeding it), and a tracker for stolen dogs. Other companies are pushing more outlandish ideas, such as products that can read your dog’s brain waves and translate them into human words, or read your pets’ emotions. Also in development is a smart vest to help service dogs attract help for their humans, and the animal computer interaction design research group at the University of Central Lancashire is working on creating media for dogs (they like watching videos of other dogs, but don’t have the attention span for long films). Where will it end? Ian Pearson, a futurologist, thinks it won’t be too difficult to develop an AI programme such as Amazon’s Alexa to get to know your pet’s sounds and “translate” them into basic statements, such as telling you they’re hungry or in pain – though he points out many owners can already read these noises. He pictures devices that will remotely take your dog for a walk for you, using commands. “You could easily do that with a GPS device, so that a dog can walk through a forest and turn left when he gets to a fork in the path. Your dog could go for a walk all by itself.” Perhaps, he says, “if you were a mad scientist type, you could theoretically put little patches on the dog’s leg to activate the muscles to actually make it go for a walk. I wouldn’t encourage doing that.