Do you remember Dug, the charming dog from the Disney movie Up, who could not control the urge to point out every squirrel through his special collar that translated his thoughts into speech? Well, that idea may not be as farfetched as we thought anymore.
A new high-tech harness with sensors, developed by Dr. David Roberts of North Carolina State University, translates the body language of dogs by detecting their posture and movements. The computer system is about the size of a deck of cards and it is set up on the harness, which fits comfortably on any dog.
The harness also boasts a speaker system and vibrating motors which enables easier two way communication between owner and dog to happen. The harness also monitors heart rate and body temperature, which analyzes the well-being of the canine. Researchers state that this kind of technology breakthrough will be very beneficial for guide dogs and other working dogs.
This is the core of the platform technology, but the applications will have the ability to be customized depending on the dog and the situation. For example, for rescue dogs, they have added an option of cameras, microphones, and environmental sensors to detect hazards such as gas leaks.
Being a dog owner requires knowing your dog well, but this device makes it easier to interpret whether the dog is excited or stressed, especially since service dogs are trained to not show obvious signs of stress. However, knowing the state of the dog and it’s well-being is important to their quality and length of life in the long run. Even things as easy as telling whether your dog is sitting or standing has become easier in case the owner is impaired on in a different room.
The platform is merely a prototype for now, but developers are taking the time to figure out ways to refine or add more applications to the device. Until then, the only way we’ll know if our dogs are excited about squirrels is when we see them running after them.