Team designing technology to give service dogs an upgrade

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ATLANTA, GA (FOX)-Service dogs could soon be getting an upgrade thanks to some new technology allowing them to communicate better with their human handlers. It is a remarkable new technology that provides a leap forward in communication between service dogs and their owners.

Dr. Melody Jackson, director of the Center for BioInterface Research at Georgia Tech, says, “They can nudge the person, they can bark, you know they can speak in dog language. But what we're trying to do is give them a way to communicate clearly with their handler."

Dr. Jackson and her team, the FIDO project, are developing wearable technology activated by simple dog movements like a tug or wave of the nose that may help deaf people or those at medical risk. It may even alert police.

“What they need is to know what kind of explosive has the dog found. The dog knows. The dog knows is this TATP which is really volatile and might explode if you bump it, or is it C-4 which is much more stable."

Jackson has even developed a vest with tiny vibrating motors that send silent commands to dogs working either far away from their handlers or in situations requiring stealth.

The team is also experimenting with cell phone and GPS technology in the vests so a dog could call 911 for its owner, or a search and rescue dog could tug a sensor to say it had found a missing person, and then stay with them until rescuers arrive.

On the web: The FIDO Project

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