Is there such a thing as remote control dogs?

Answer: Yes, thanks to a haptic vest.

by / July 24, 2019

Researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University have developed a system that allows people to communicate with dogs when verbal or visual commands may be difficult or impossible. The system involves a haptic vest worn by the dog and a remote control operated by their human.

To build the system, the team put vibrating motors into a lightweight mesh dog vest. Controlled via a wireless remote, the motors touch the dog’s back and sides and can provide different levels and patterns of haptic vibration. The dog can then be trained to respond to different patterns and locations of these vibrations, and the human with the remote control need not be within sight or earshot of the dog in order to give it commands.

The researchers envision a variety of uses for this system, such as search and rescue when the environment is loud or too difficult for the dog’s handler to navigate. It could also be used by guide dogs for speech-impaired individuals, or even to communicate with dogs who are deaf or hard of hearing.

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