Sleepypod makes products that help furry family members travel comfortably. When the company decided to start testing its safety harnesses, there were no animal crash-test dummies, so it designed its own, starting with Max 1, a terrier-sized stand-in. The vinyl and foam dummies are weighted with pennies or lead and can house load sensors and cameras. Sleepypod now has seven crash pets, including big Duke, Max, a cat named Cleo, and Scout, a reclining mid-size dog. A new and improved Scout will soon join the pack.
Little six-pound Max was designed to test safety for small dogs in pet carriers, although here we have him in a harness to keep Duke company.
Weighing in at 75 pounds, big dog Duke bravely takes hits to protect his real-dog brothers and sisters. His crash-test-inspired design is purposeful. “Not only can we weight him realistically and place sensors,” says Sleepypod designer Michael Leung, “but when tests are done with fluffy stuffed animals, it looks too real, and people get upset watching the videos.”