Only pet owners can understand the pain of being separated from their pooch or pussycat. For everyone else: imagine being torn away from your closest family member, without the option to call them. In other words, travel and work are your worst nightmare. While nothing can replace quality time spent together, PlayDate is probably the next best thing. It’s basically a toy ball for your pet to play with — with the addition of an internal Wi-Fi camera, and remote control functionality.

In the same way that humans have Facetime for staying in touch, you can think of PlayDate as Slobbertime with your furry friend. The ball has a durable, replaceable outer shell made from shatter-proof polycarbonate to resist even the most over-enthusiastic jaws. There is a clear window for the camera, which is weighted so it always returns to facing upward. The internal motor allows PlayDate to move in any direction to draw playful lunges.

PlayDate Lets You See and Play with Your Pet from Anywhere in the World

It is controlled from your smartphone via the companion app. This offers live HD video from the ball, as well as two-way audio so your pet can hear you. You can even make the ball squeak remotely. The footage can be recorded for posterity, and an on-screen button lets you take photos at any time.

Along with play from afar, owners can maneuver the ball around the house to check on their pet.

PlayDate Lets You See and Play with Your Pet from Anywhere in the World

The two-man (and one dog) team behind PlayDate are currently raising funds for the project via IndieGoGo. With nearly $100,000 pledged at the time of writing, backers can contribute $149 to claim one of the first balls off the production line. PlayDate comes in two sizes (3 and 4 inches), and it is expected to retail at $249 when it hits retail next year.

Can you see yourself playing with your pet remotely using the PlayDate?

Meet Mark Myerson

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.