Siri for Service Dogs?

Photo

Consumers and critics alike are still split on the usefulness of wearable tech, but one gadget will likely stick around: wearable tech for service dogs that would include GPS tracking.

Dr. Melody Jackson, director of the Center for BioInterface Research at Georgia Tech, is the lead inventor of the vest, which is part of  the Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations (FIDO) project. The vest, designed for service dogs, has GPS tracking, has a Siri-like function, and can dial 911.

The idea behind the FIDO project is to expand the capabilities of service dogs. Dogs will activate little sensors on the vest simply by doing what they normally do, like biting, to perform a task.

Dr. Jackson is thinking big with this project, “What if the dog could also activate a tug sensor that would use the owner’s cellphone to dial 911 and summon help?” she asks, referring to dogs that assist people who suffer from seizures.  Dogs who use their sense of smell in rescue operations would be able to activate GPS tracking so the handler could keep tabs on the animal without the dog having to come all the way back if he or she finds something.

Currently, the biggest problem is battery life, which hasn’t been able to keep up.