Harness teaches old mutt new tricks

09 July 2015 - 02:25 By Reuters

A way to improve communication between dogs and humans is being developed in the US by North Carolina State University researchers and veterinarians. The joint project between the computer science, and the electrical and computer engineering departments, and the College of Veterinary Medicine, has resulted in the invention of a " smart harness".David Roberts, an assistant professor of computer science, said: "You can think of the smart harness as a platform for two-way computer-mediated communication between dogs and handlers."Roberts' own dog, Diesel, has been used for the experiments.The smart harness is a computer-equipped pack that fits comfortably on a dog's back.Using a tablet computer to send signals to the harness and to the dog, the researchers hope to be able not only to monitor the dog's heart rate and health but to improve its training.For example, a vibration on one side of the dog's body - reinforced by a hand command by the owner - will prompt it to move in the indicated direction.Researchers say that the technology has many applications, including search and rescue, and training pets.

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