Scientists at North Carolina State University have come up with the ultimate pet-wearable: a device a dog wears that allows it to communicate with humans.
For centuries man has wanted to better understand his best friend (and vice versa, we'd imagine) and the new tech making this possible has been detailed in the paper Towards Cyber-Enhanced Working Dogs for Search and Rescue.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve developed a platform for computer-mediated communication between humans and dogs that opens the door to new avenues for interpreting dogs‚Äô behavioural signals and sending them clear and unambiguous cues in return,‚ÄĚ explained Dr. David Roberts, an assistant professor of computer science at NC State.
‚ÄúWe have a fully functional prototype, but we‚Äôll be refining the design as we explore more and more applications for the platform.‚ÄĚ
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The harness is packed with a wealth of sensors, including posture readers, that will help us understand what our canine friend is trying to say, and how he's feeling.
‚ÄúDogs communicate primarily through body language, and one of our challenges was to develop sensors that tell us about their behaviour by observing their posture remotely,‚ÄĚ said Dr. Alper Bozkurt, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State.
‚ÄúSo we can determine when they‚Äôre sitting, standing, running, etc., even when they‚Äôre out of sight ‚Äď a harness-mounted computer the size of a deck of cards transmits those data wirelessly."
The communication is two-way due to the feedback the dog wearer receives following audio commands from people.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve incorporated speakers and vibrating motors, called haptics, into the harness, which enable us to communicate with the dogs,‚ÄĚ Roberts added.
As well as the awesome communication tech, the harness also packs in a heart rate monitor and a tempertture sensor - it's like a Fido Fitbit.
The team have been working on emergency response research with the new tech and are now working on making the device smaller.