The team of researchers said the harness includes technologies aimed at interpreting the body language signals used by dogs, as well as technologies designed to translate human language into signals the dogs will understand.
David Roberts, an assistant professor of computer science at the school and co-author of a paper on the team’s work said, “We have a fully functional prototype, but we’ll be refining the design as we explore more and more applications for the platform.”
Roberts added that, “We’ve developed a platform for computer-mediated communication between humans and dogs that opens the door to new avenues for interpreting dogs’ behavioral signals and sending them clear and unambiguous cues in return.”
The harness also bears temperature and heart-rate sensors that can give users information about the dog’s emotional state. This can be useful in analyzing the stress levels of guide dogs and other service animals.
“This can help handlers identify and mitigate stress for the dogs, improving the length and quality of a dog’s life,” said Sean Mealin, a Ph.D. student and co-author of the paper.
“It’s an important issue. Particularly because guide dogs are bred and trained not to display signs of stress in their behavior.”
The team said the technology could also have applications for search-and-rescue dogs with additional sensors to detect environmental factors such as gas leaks.
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