The Future Will See You Now

Woof: Wearable Computers for Dogs Are Coming

Talking to your dog is almost socially acceptable.

US-ATTACKS-BOSTON-WATERTOWNFirst, there was robo-cheetah. Now, get ready for dogs with face computers.

According to MIT Technology Review, researchers the Georgia Institute of Technology are developing a system with the nifty acronym FIDO: “Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations.”

Primarily designed for service animals and bomb-sniffing or rescue dogs, FIDO will outfit pups with special sensors that will translate their movements into clear messages for their human handlers.

The early FIDO tests sound promising: three service dogs were equipped with a series of different sensors, and successfully learned to activate them by means of crafty canine mouth gestures. The researchers hope “FIDO could enable bomb-sniffing dogs to communicate with handlers remotely about what specific type of bomb they’ve encountered, and rescue dogs could remotely alert a human team that they’ve found an injured person,” MIT Technology Review reports.

For owners of un-extraordinary, non-drug-sniffing dogs, you’ll have to wait a little longer before wearable computers are available to all dogs. Head researcher Melody Jackson, however, reportedly said she “could even see a device that would let a pet dog alert you if it’s hungry or needs to go out.”

Of course, you’ll still need Whistle to tell you if your dog is dead.

Correction: The MIT story which served as a source for this post erroneously stated Google was funding the project. The post has been changed to fix this detail. Betabeat regrets the error.

Follow Jordyn Taylor on Twitter or via RSS. jtaylor@observer.com

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