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Touchscreens, Nose-Activated vests & more…

Scientists are hard at work bridging the gap in dog to human communication.  Remember Lassie or other dog movies where the human just seems to know something’s up and follows the dog to the emergency?  In real life a stranger may have simply offered the dog a pat on the head or piece of their sandwich whilst just around the corner a distress was unfolding. Imagine tech where a dog comes up to you and you hear a voice recording announcing the situation.

Georgia Tech (Georgia Institute of Technology) are creating wearable technologies which are set to make big breakthroughs, particularly for assistance dogs.  The FIDO project created a prototype of a vest which can be worn by a such a dog.  Service and assistance dogs are often trained to predict a fit or seizure and let their owner know.  With a wearable vest the warning could use a voice recording which is triggered when the dog touches a certain part of the vest such as pulling on a tab with their mouth. Should the owner suffer an episode e.g. a fit or seizure, or be unconscious, the dog is trained to find someone nearby and pull a different tab on their vest which triggers the voice alert to say “My owner needs your attention. Please follow me”. 

Knowing how surprised some folks might be at hearing this voice coming from a dog, the system is designed to sound twice, because in tests people have been so alarmed at hearing the message the first time they don’t really absorb it until they’ve heard it a second time. For dogs assisting children with autism if the dog predicts there’s about to be a meltdown it can activate an instruction such as ‘Please pat me now’.  

Some vests could have tracking sensors for dogs doing search and rescue and the vest could communicate at distance back to the handler.

The application is intended for use with military detection dog too and who knows where the applications would end. Dogs are also being trained to ‘touch’ their nose to a screen in the home which could relate to warnings such as ‘I heard the doorbell’ or ‘I can hear thunder’.

If you’d like to the see this tech in action click the link below…

Leah & Angela OMeara

Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)