Millions of pets go missing in the U.S. each year, but a new platform aims to help find more lost animals though a photographic database that uses facial recognition to match lost pets with found ones.
PiP is a pet-recognition app that allows users to create an account for each of their animals that includes information such as the pet’s name, location and description. Most importantly, the pet's profile contains clear images of the animal’s face.
If a user's cat or dog goes missing, the owner simply presses the "Amber Alert" button, which sends details about the pet to animal rescue organizations, veterinary offices and fellow PiP users in the area.
The "Amber Alert" also scans social media postings about found pets to search for a matching face.
"We will not only broadcast across all social media that the pet is missing, but everyone with the app will get a pop-up Amber Alert. We will contact the owner directly to listen, provide PiP’s immediate response and offer support," Philip Rooyakkers, CEO of PiP, said in a statement.
When an animal is found, its details can also be uploaded to PiP, and the system uses its facial recognition technology to try to match found animals with registered missing pets.
If a match is found, pet owners are immediately notified. To avoid false positives, Rooyakkers says a PiP employee will check data like breed, weight and gender to ensure the found animal is indeed a match.
PiP's facial recognition technology is able to recognize 98 percent of cats and dogs, according to Rooyakkers.
While anyone can download the app to report found pets, a paid subscription is required to set up accounts for animals.
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