New Technology Helps Handlers Monitor Their Guide Dogs

A dogs principal way of showing its owner how they may be feeling is through their movements and posture. For the blind this can be quite problematic and deprives them of valuable behavioral cures that up until now were unable to be observed.

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a device that allows people who are blind to monitor their guide dogs, in order to keep tabs on the health and well-being of their canine companions. The collar will address two key rates from the dog; it will monitor breathing and heart rate. This will be achieved through a specialized handle equipped with two vibrating motors. One motor will be embedded in the handle near the handlers thumb. It will vibrate or beat in tandem with the dog's heart rate. The other motor will be near the handler's pinky finger, and will vibrate in synch with the dog's breathing. The prototype handle has been tested using simulated heart rate and respiratory data, and was found to be effective at accurately conveying information to users.

Both the paper and its authors, one a high school student, and subsequent prototype will be presented at the Second International Congress on Animal Computer Interaction , in Johor, Malaysia in November of this year. If all goes well, we can hope to see this amazing product available to the public very soon.

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