New GoPro Camera Harness Captures Dog's-Eye View

Aug 30, 2014
Originally published on September 2, 2014 11:43 am

There are few things more popular on YouTube than a good pet video.

Now GoPro, the camera maker known more for videos of BASE-jumping, paragliding, and mountain biking, has gotten into the cute dog video business.

This past week, the company unveiled the GoPro Fetch. It's a harness that allows users to mount one of GoPro's durable, high-definition cameras on their dogs, capturing footage from a pet's-eye view.

The company was inspired to take on the project by users' do-it-yourself attempts to attach GoPro cameras to their pets.

"As long as I've been here, this has been one of the products people have really been asking for," says Josh Druker, senior manager for advanced mounts at GoPro. Druker leads a five-person team with essentially one job: creating new ways for people to attach cameras to helmets, skis, surfboards or, in this case, dogs.

According to GoPro, the adjustable harness can fit dogs as small as 15 pounds and as large as 120 pounds.

Druker says this is the result of extensive testing on a range of dog breeds.

"It's not just size testing that you're looking for. It's kind of the skeletal structure underneath," says Druker. "Dobermans are very angular and narrow, whereas you take something like a Newfoundland, and it's very broad and hairy."

The company says attaching the Fetch to dogs trained in search and rescue could provide a practical use for the harness. But the ultimate goal is to allow dog owners to "share their passion," as Druker says, in much the same way that extreme sports enthusiasts have.

In theory, Druker says, GoPro users could attach the camera to a variety of different pets. After all, one of GoPro's most popular videos features Hawaiian surfer Kai Holt, who regularly takes to the waves with his pet pig, Kama.

Druker says the only real limit is your pet's size and temperament.

"You'd have to have a really friendly cat for this," he says.

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It's not just big production companies making nature documentaries these days. For years now, people equipped with durable GoPro cameras have been shooting videos from the front of a surfboard or the tip of a ski and posting them online. And starting this week, GoPro made it even easier to attach the camera to your pet. NPR's Tom Dreisbach has the story.



TOM DREISBACH, BYLINE: Here's a typical mega-popular YouTube video shot with Go-Pro cameras - guys climbing a desert cliff.


MAN #1: This is scary man.

DREISBACH: Guy sees precarious looking zip line hundreds of feet above a canyon floor.


MAN #1: This looks so damn scary.

DREISBACH: But this guy is not going to let this line go unzipped.



MAN #1: Yeah, buddy.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Ready, steady, spaghetti.

DREISBACH: And with the vicarious thrill of YouTube, we can all fly above the canyon together.


MAN #1: Yeah. That was so scary.

DREISBACH: This type of video is GoPro's bread and butter. From extreme sports like dirt biking -



DREISBACH: - To backcountry skiing or urban kayaking.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: Woah. That was so rowdy.

DREISBACH: What makes these videos possible are the highly durable, waterproof HD cameras and the mounts which allow people to attach those cameras to a helmet, a ski, a surfboard or a dog.

DREISBACH: The latest mount released this week is called the GoPro Fetch and it was designed by this guy.

JOSH DRUKER: My name is Josh Druker. I'm manager of the advanced mounts group here at GoPro.

DREISBACH: In fact, Druker leads a five person team with basically one job - create cool new ways to attach GoPro cameras to different stuff.

DRUKER: Yes, I have one of the best jobs in the world.

DREISBACH: The idea for a dog mount actually came from GoPro users, who were finding all sorts of ways to record a dog's eye view. So, Druker says the company did a lot of field testing to create an official harness that would fit all shapes and sizes.

DRUKER: It's not just size testing that you're looking for, it's kind of the skeletal structure underneath. Like Dobermans are very angular and narrow, whereas you take something like a Newfoundland and it's very broad and hairy.

DREISBACH: Now Josh Druker is himself not a dog owner.

DRUKER: I am not a dog owner. But I have two kids. I won't say that I put the harness on them.

DREISBACH: But you're not not saying it.

DRUKER: Yeah. There may be some therapy later where this comes up.

DREISBACH: So, kids, dogs, a really friendly cat - this new harness could fit a lot of different stuff - even a pig that surfs.


KAI HOLT: What's your favorite surf spot? Sandy Beach?

DREISBACH: That's one of GoPro's proudest users, Kai Holt and his surfing pig, Kama.

HOLT: He doesn't even know. (Laughter).

DREISBACH: And while you might not believe there's really a pig that can stand on a surfboard in the Pacific, there it is caught on camera. Tom Dreisbach, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.