Google Plans Wearable Computer For Dogs

Hund der in den Computer schautCan you imagine your favorite mutt using its wearable computer to tell you to take it for a walk… NOW!?

You might not have to imagine it for much longer as Google moves beyond its Glass project, reports MIT Technology Review:

…[W]earable tech needn’t be just for people. At the Georgia Institute of Technology, visiting associate professor Melody Jackson, professor and Google Glass technical lead Thad Starner, and research scientist Clint Zeagler are working on a system called FIDO, which stands for “facilitating interactions for dogs with occupations.”

Jackson, who has been training assistance dogs for about 18 years, says FIDO is meant to make it easy for the animals to communicate clearly with their handlers (whether a disabled person or a police officer) by activating a sensor on their vest or collar to transmit a verbal command the handler can hear through an earpiece or see on a head-mounted display.

In an early study, the researchers equipped a dog vest with an Arduino microprocessor and tested four different sensors that dogs could activate by biting, tugging, or putting their mouth nearby. The three service dogs participating in the test quickly learned to activate the sensors to set off a tone, Jackson says. A paper detailing the group’s initial findings will be presented at ISWC.

Beyond helping disabled people navigate more effectively, FIDO could enable bomb-sniffing dogs to communicate with handlers remotely about what specific type of bomb they’ve encountered, and rescue dogs could remotely alert a human team that they’ve found an injured person. A grant from Google will allow the researchers to study some of these applications. Eventually, Jackson could even see a device that would let a pet dog alert you if it’s hungry or needs to go out…

[continues at MIT Technology Review]

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  • Haystack

    If pets could easily communicate their needs/wants, we wouldn’t want them anymore.

  • Deteis

    Bring me a cat computer and I’ll give you the world.

    Seriously, my cat is social and friendly to the point that he acts like a dog, and I’d like to ask a few questions about other cats. He would probably answer.

  • z@ch

    Dog: “Hey man, could you just put on some pants and maybe stop wankin’ it like I’m not in the room?”
    Dude: “Uh, well you’re always licking uh, you know yourself!”
    Dog: “That I am. He he, that I am.”

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