US Customs and Border guard dogs will soon trial collars that track their health in real time, much like many standard pet wearables.
That's after a Department of Homeland Security project awarded $198,000 to PetPace, a company that makes sensor collars that keep tabs on heart rate, respiration and temperature of K-9 units within Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
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"CBP has one of the largest and most diverse canine programs in the country, with more than 1,500 canine teams trained in disciplines such as search and rescue and firearms and currency detection," said CBP acting commissioner Kevin McAleenan.
"Our canines are vital partners in achieving CBP's mission and often operate in intense climates with serious physical demands. This program provides an opportunity to gather new data in the training environment which could translate to improved animal performance and care in the field."
The award was given under the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), a Homeland Security initiative in the Californian area aiming to cultivate relationships with technology innovators.
In this case, the SVIP K9 Wearable Technologies Call aims to use personalised, real-time data gathered from canines through wearable tech, with this then being used to gain new insights and improve animal health and performance.
This includes being able to record and transmit vital signs, receiving, storing and analysing vital sign data, and maintaining and updating sensor components.
Of course, it's no surprise to see a lucrative deal in this field, with recent reports indicating that the market for pet wearables could reach $2.5 billion by 2024. It's highly likely that this will also factor in animal-friendly wearables being used outside of the home as well.
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