Lazy dog owners everywhere, rejoice: Auburn University mechanical engineers David Bevly and Jeff Miller have created a system whose main part is a harness-type device that receives signals from a remote control and “provides autonomous guidance…using an embedded command module with vibration and tone generation capabilities.” In a paper that will soon appear in International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control, the team says that after teaching dogs to respond to the device, tests done in different environments produced an obedience accuracy rate of nearly 98 percent.
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What’s the Big Idea?
Those of us who actually like having real relationships with our pets may not see the point in using a remote control, but Bevly and Miller’s system has a serious purpose: Dogs trained to sniff out drugs, explosives and trapped people sometimes find themselves in locations where their handlers can’t go. Also, the noise level may be such that the dog cannot hear spoken commands. The team says that their technology can be recreated for humans as well, “allowing emergency responders to be guided remotely in hazardous situations such as a collapsing or burning building or for a haptic feedback GPS system to assist navigation by the visually impaired.”
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