People who work with dogs in law enforcement and the military are probably accustomed to their work dog barking to communicate an important point. But the way it is looking, working dogs in the future could get set up with their very own Google Glass-like technology to communicate with their masters.
This high tech system is currently in development as a piece of Georgia Institute of Technology’s Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations (FIDO) effort. An associate professor of interactive computing named Melody Jackson, and research scientist Clint Zeagler are working with the technical lead of Google Glass on the project, whose name is Thad Starner.
At this time, dogs are very limited in how they can communicate to their human partners. FIDO is testing new technology systems with its Inter-species Interaction Lab. One study involves a dog vest with a microprocessor. Dogs could activate different sensors by pulling or biting at them. This technology could be used to mark where bombs are or even to indicate what kind of bomb was found. This would improve upon the current practice of the dog lying next to the bomb and barking until the handler notices.
Also, the team thinks it will be able to connect the sensors in the vest to a display that people who have disabilities could wear. Perhaps a hearing dog would detect a tornado or storm siren, and would touch a sensor on the vest with his snout. That would trigger a message to show up on the display that the human is wearing, which would alert him or her to head for safety.
Georgia does not have an actual partnership with Google on this project, but Google Glass’ command/display abilities seem to have influenced the team at FIDO. There is little doubt that animal/computer interaction is only going to get stronger as technology improves. But will people get used to the entire Google Glass concept? We have seen some strange reactions to Glass out there, that is for sure!