Features Friday, October 31, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | October 31, 2014 | 7:10 pm IST If a dog is a friend to some, it could be a guide to others and thanks to a new high-tech harness equipped with a suite of technologies, dog lovers can now track the physical and emotional stress of their pets and send appropriate signals to them. "We have developed a platform for computer-mediated communication between humans and dogs that opens the door to new avenues for interpreting dogs' behavioural signals and sending them clear and unambiguous cues in return," said co-lead author David Roberts from North Carolina State University in the US. A harness-mounted computer, the size of a deck of cards transmits data - when they are sitting, standing and running even when they are out of sight - wirelessly. "At the same time, we've incorporated speakers and vibrating motors called haptics into the harness which enable us to communicate with the dogs," Roberts said. The technology could find applications in everything from search and rescue to service dogs to training our pets. "We developed software to collect, interpret and communicate those data and to translate human requests into signals on the harness," said study co-author Rita Brugarolas from North Carolina State University. The technology also includes physiological sensors that monitor things like heart rate and body temperature. The sensors not only track a dog's physical well being, but can offer information on a dog's emotional state, such as whether it is excited or stressed. The researchers said they now have a fully functional prototype, but they will be refining the design to explore more and more applications for the platform. The findings appeared in the journal IEEE Intelligent Systems IANS
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