Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Dog Dialogue

PostedNovember 9, 2014

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Anchor Lead: Do you and your dog understand each other? Chances are, the communication’s not perfect…but a new technology might help.

Randy Atkins: While we’re most comfortable communicating verbally, dogs primarily communicate with body language says David Roberts of North Carolina State University. So he’s engineering a system...

David Roberts: …to help people understand what their dogs are communicating as well as to provide a platform for them to send clear and unambiguous cues to the dog.

Randy Atkins: The dog wears a high-tech harness equipped with such things as a camera, sensors that detect movements, and a treat dispenser. The person has a wireless computer.

David Roberts: You can actually essentially send a text message to your dog and a little speaker on the back of its harness will verbalize that text message and it’s the same way every single time.

Randy Atkins: No ambiguous human emotions. Biological sensors on the dog, though, might trigger pre-recorded messages like…

David Roberts: …”I’m stressed out right now.” You could absolutely verbalize those things.

Randy Atkins: Early applications will focus on assistance or search and rescue dogs, but Roberts believes it will ultimately provide a new way to interact with pets. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.