Blind Bargains

Someday Your Guide Dog May Have Their Own Wearable Technology

Wearable computing seems to be the next frontier. The Pebble watch and Google Glass are being raved about, but wearable technology doesn't jus have to be for humans. Researchers at Georgia Tech are working on a system called FIDO, or Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations. The idea is that the dog could activate a sensor that would then transmit either a verbal command into a headset or a visual command onto a screen. For example, a bomb sniffer dog could tell his handler what kind of bomb it is, or a rescue dog could alert someone that he found an injured person. A guide dog could tell us that there is an obstruction to our right or in front of us. According to the article in technology review, "In an early study, the researchers equipped a dog vest with an Arduino microprocessor and tested four different sensors that dogs could activate by biting, tugging, or putting their mouth nearby. The three service dogs participating in the test quickly learned to activate the sensors to set off a tone." Tell us in the comments what you would want your service animal to be able to communicate.

Category: Services

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For the past three years Alena has been a feature writer for the online magazine Matilda Ziegler. She has also been a contractor for the Oregon Commission for the Blind, helping blind adults learn to use adaptive technology. She is studying to be a teacher of the visually impaired at Portland State. You might also recognize her from the Serotalk podcast Triple Click Home.

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