As part of the Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations (FIDO) project, researchers are creating a new piece of technology that will allow dogs to more effectively communicate with humans.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are developing a sensor/transmitter that would attach to a dog's vest or collar, which the dog could trigger by biting or pulling on it, and would give the handler or owner specific information about such things as bomb detection, health diagnoses or navigation for the blind.
Each sensor would correspond to a different scent and with training the dogs would learn to associate a particular scent with a particular sensor. After the sensor is triggered, the information can be transmitted to a device or directly to the handler’s ear, effectively enabling dog-to-human communication.
The device is still in development, but significant advances are likely forthcoming.
Many groups and individuals stand to benefit from FIDO, including the following:
- National security and the military, which admitted a few years ago that its expensive efforts to engineer bomb-sniffing machines were in vain
- Rescue operations where dogs could communicate what they had found, while humans remained at a safe distance
- Doctors for diagnosing diseases