If you thought training your dog was hard, researchers at Auburn University may be able to help. And by help, I mean turn your puppy into a super dog willing to take on the riskiest of tasks, sniff for bombs, and generally help save the world.
The new technology comes in the form of a specially fitted harness that allows researchers to send remote signals to a dog, helping it navigate through dangerous situations. The device boasts GPS sensors, a CPU and a wireless modem that allows for contact with dogs through auditory and tactile stimuli.
Using the tactile and auditory stimuli, the handler can guide them through sticky situations. For example, if the harness vibrates on the left side, the dog will be trained to go left.
But the dog isn't the only thing that needs training - the software behind this guiding harness was programmed to understand dogs natural inclinations.
By creating a software that understands what the dogs natural inclination may be, the harness becomes a more effective guidance tool.
Basically, if the dog sees a fire and the harness tells it to go right into the fire, the dog will not obey the command.
The software takes into account the dog's ability to get to its destination safely and therefore minimizes the turn-by-turn directions, instead simply guiding the dog.
If the handler foresees a potential problem the dog does not recognize, it will in turn give the dog a hard signal.
In trials, the computer issues the correct commands 99% of the time, with a follow rate of 80% by the yellow labs being trained.
This type of technology may be adopted by EMTs or first responders, the military, and law enforcement officials.
The system does seem to tap into a dog's natural ability to avoid and detect danger in situations where humans can't, but something tells me animal activists may not be happy with this advancement.
Aside from practical applications that may be dangerous to the dog, the research is giving scientists much insight into the way animals respond to certain tasks and commands.
(Via Pop Sci)