- Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a wearable canine computer that could allow dogs to send messages to handlers
- Project FIDO, ‘Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations’ is the brainchild of the original technical lead of Google Glass,Thad Starner
technology could help disabled people navigate more effectively and let bomb-detecting dogs communicate with their handlers from a distance
American scientists have created a wearable computer for dogs that they say could allow man’s best friend to send messages to handlers.
The technology might initially sound barking mad, but its creators at Georgia Institute of Technology believe that it will give crime dogs and other K-9s a clearer and more direct way to communicate with their handlers.
The Google Glass-inspired technology for hounds may even let us humans view the world through a dog’s eyes.
The Google Glass-inspired technology for hounds may even let us view the world through a dog’s eyes
While gadget lovers await the commercial release of Google Glass in 2014, Thad Starner, the technical leader on Google’s upcoming eyewear, has teamed up with scientists at the Institute to develop a computerised harness to aid working dogs, the MIT Technology Review reports.
The project, titled FIDO (Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations), could allow a bomb-sniffing, cadaver or other working dog to activate a sensor which would then send information to the dog’s handler, according to the Review.
As of now the developers are testing a new device that allows the dog using it to activate a signal which is sent to its handler through an earpiece.
HOW DOES FIDO WORK?
The FIDO system works by the dog activating a sensor on the its vest or collar to transmit a verbal command, which the handler can hear through an earpiece of see on a head-mounted display, perhaps like Google Glass.
The researchers fitted a dog vest with an Arduino microprocessor and tested four different sensors that dogs could activate by tugging, biting or simply putting close to their mouths.
Professor Melody Jackson, who is working on the project has been training assistance dogs for around 18 years, said that working dogs talking part in the early study quickly learned to trigger the sensors to set off a tone.
The results of the trial will be published in a paper and presented at the International Semantic Web Conference in October.
Better communication: The project, titled FIDO, could allow guide dogs and bomb-detecting dogs to activate a sensor which would then send information to their handler
Eventually the technology could transmit video from a dog’s perception to a human viewer, the Review reported.
Associate Professor Melody Jackson said that service dogs that tested the gadget quickly got the hang of the sensors, which they were able to activate by using their mouths.
She said that the FIDO technology could help disabled people navigate more effectively and let bomb-detecting dogs communicate with their handlers from a distance – even telling them abut a specific type of bomb that they have found.
Similarly, the scientists believe that the system could allow rescue dogs to alert a human team from afar when they have found an injured person.
Of course the technology could be of interest to pet owners too in the future.
Professor Jackson said that it could be used to let humans know when a dog is hungry or wants to go outside – perhaps even by a text message.
Signaling: The device will allow the dog using it to activate a signal which is sent to its handler through an earpiece