New wearable tech means we may soon be able to talk to our dogs

New experimental technology means we may soon have the ability to converse with canines.

A trustworthy guide dog leads its master

Have you ever looked at the expression on your dog’s face and wondered what it was thinking? Well, we may soon have the ability to communicate with canines, with researchers from Georgia Tech working on a way to give dogs the ability to ‘speak’.

Melody Moore Jackson from Georgia Tech’s BrainLab is currently working on a project called FIDO, which stands for Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations. She is experimenting with a special type of vest that may give dogs the ability to deliver an audio or text message to a designated contact. These computerised vests could have huge potential for service dogs who often need to communicate with their ‘masters’.

The vests feature a lever on which a dog can tug, as well as a sensor that the dog can touch with its nose in order to activate a controller unit that sends an audio or text message.

And although we’d all love to have the ability to talk to our dogs, the vest is being developed specifically for service dogs, with the benefits of such technology being potentially huge.

Say a service dog's owner is unconscious. The dog could attract the attention of a passer-by and send a message along the lines of "excuse me my owner needs your attention". Search and rescue dogs could also use the vests to alert search parties of a GPS location when they find someone in a remote area. It may also allow dogs to communicate with third parties, even if they are not usually inclined to do so under normal circumstances.

It could also alert blind people of hazards that a dog may detect, but cannot convey to their keeper. One such example of this was demonstrated when a dog stopped his blind owner from walking across wet concrete. The blind man, using his cane, felt nothing in his way and ordered the dog to walk on. If the dog was wearing a FIDO vest, the blind owner may not have had concrete boots when he arrived home.

Jackson has already tested eight dogs wearing vests with five different sensors, and the longest time it took a dog to learn the system was 30 minutes –one dog learned it in just 27 seconds.

Hopefully it won’t be too long until we can communicate with our canine friends.

Read more at Business Insider


    To make a comment, please register or login
    4th Feb 2016
    Maybe the dogs can teach old people how to use the internet too.
    4th Feb 2016
    My Dog can Talk already. I took him outside to a tree and asked him what was on the tree He replied "Bark" I asked him what he thought of my wife. He Replied "Rough" I asked him what was the name of his favorite food. He replied "Woof"
    4th Feb 2016
    My young dog stares at me all evening,"I want to play, I want to play!" Heaven forbid if he could actually verbalise the unflinching eyes and the wagging tale with the toy in his mouth.

    4th Feb 2016
    I would like to know what breed of dogs took part in the project.
    4th Feb 2016
    Perhaps this technology would also make is clear to some Asian nationalities that these wonderful, intelligent, empathetic companion animals are not meant to be tortured, butchered and served up in a bowl for dinner, too.
    4th Feb 2016
    I had a great blue cattle dog who had a vocabulary understanding that was amazing. She also had a variety of signals and sounds to communicate with me.
    One of her pups was born deaf and Dad turned him into a fine working dog, even without the bark, using hand signals and body language alone. He was once offered over $1000 for Jack but declined.

    Being a dog lady I am bemused at the recent addition to the household. A cat. Abandoned by the tenants next door who moved on. Surprisingly I can influence this felines behaviour using the timing of my behaviour but he is steadily training me.
    He is a sweet little chappy and entirely winning in his conniving little ways,
    Looks a bit Abyssinian and talks quite a bit. Wish I could work out what he is saying.
    Good thing canines are man's best friend.
    6th Feb 2016
    There are mobile phone apps that enable a dogs bark to be translated
    6th Feb 2016
    Here's one of them:
    Dog Translator (FREE!) by Ronald Bell

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