The News Today
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10.15.19
Cyborg Pups

A Vibrating Haptic Feedback Vest Could “Steer” Rescue Dogs

July 10th 19__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Robots & Machines
Jonathan Atari/Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Rare Puppers

A new vibrating vest could help extremely good working dogs perform their jobs better than before.

The vest, basically an off-the-shelf dog harness equipped with communication gear and four vibrating motors, can give dogs tactile feedback or be used to issue commands from a distance. The ultimate goal is to give a high-tech upgrade to dogs working jobs that humans and robots can’t do.

Canine Automation

Dogs can generally traverse rough or shaky terrains better than robots. With the new vest, people would be able to steer the rescue dogs like a robot without worrying that they will trip, fall, and break.

“Our research results showed that dogs responded to these vibrotactile cues as well or even better than vocal commands,” Amir Shapiro, robotics director at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, said in a press release sent to Futurism.

Good Boy

Shapiro and his team have only tested their device on one dog, according to a yet-unpublished research paper reviewed by Futurism that will be presented at Tokyo’s World Haptics Conference on Friday.

The dog in question is a six-year-old Labrador retriever and German shepherd mix. He learned a variety of commands like walking in certain directions, returning to his handler, or interacting with nearby objects, but one dog does not a robust study make. Shapiro’s team plans to test more breeds while adding more capabilities to the vest.

More on dogs with jobs: Scientists Are Calling For More Dogs in Space