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November 23, 2014 AT 12:00 am

Body Sensors Help Dogs “Talk” to their Human Companions

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A new two-way communication system using body sensors and vibrations could help humans and dogs communicate more clearly. From IEEE Spectrum:

The key to talking with Fido relies on a small computer and body sensors that work together to interpret a dog’s posture—a way to translate canine body language for humans to understand. On the other side, human handlers can communicate orders to their four-legged friends using vibrating motors in the dog’s haptic harness. Such a system may prove useful for guide dogs working with the blind, military working dogs, and dogs used for search and rescue.

“Dogs communicate primarily through body language, and one of our challenges was to develop sensors that tell us about their behavior by observing their posture remotely,” said David Roberts, a professor of computer science at North Carolina State University, in a press release. “So we can determine when they’re sitting, standing, running, etc., even when they’re out of sight—a harness-mounted computer the size of a deck of cards transmits those data wirelessly.”

The dog harness also has sensors capable of monitoring the dog’s heart rate, body temperature, and stress levels. Roberts and his colleagues have also tweaked the harness for rescue missions by adding a camera, microphone, and sensors for detecting gas leaks.

Read more.


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