Wearable Computer for Dogs Assists With Training

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A new piece of technology has been created to help with training your dog.  Using a wearable harness, the device knows when your dog has completed the command correctly, and responds by giving a tasty treat.  This helps out when using the positive reinforcement method of training.

The wearable harness is specially designed to be both comfortable and capable.  The harness contains sensors and a computer that’s about the size of a standard deck of playing cards.  Researchers at the North Carolina State University along with Alper Bozkurt and David Roberts.

Both Roberts and Bozkurt are leaders in the CIIGAR Lab.  The lab is a part of the NCSU Computer Science Department and Digital Games Department, and specializes on canine technology.  In a demonstration of how the device performs, a dog wearing the harness was put into an enclosure, and the computer in the harness sent a signal to that enclosure which in turn dispensed a tasty snack.

“We use sensors in custom dog harnesses to monitor a dog’s posture, and the computer reinforces the correct behavior quickly and with near-perfect consistency,” said Roberts in a press release.  The proof of concept study was recently published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, which you can see by clicking here.

As a next step in the ongoing process, the team wants to start work on refining the harness and the programming for the computer.  They want to be able to use the harness in teach individual and specific tricks and tasks.  So something beyond the more basic sit, and stay type of command.  The team also wants people to know that the intent of the study and the harness is NOT to remove human trainers from the equation.  They want to enhance the quality of the interactions between the dog and human.