FIDO Google Glass wearable pet tech is not just a drawing-board idea waiting to happen. FIDO is the acronym for “Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations” and is directed by the former lead tech on the Google Glass project, Thad Starner. Creating wearable tech that can be used by working dogs to communicate with their team or the person they are assisting is an exciting complement to the talents these dogs already demonstrate. First noticed in a fast-feed story at Fast Company by Christina Chaey, it’s easy to see what a boon this technology will be for search and rescue, the military and their bomb-sniffer dogs, and disabled persons, the targeted beneficiaries of this project.
How FIDO Works
Starner, a professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, and the rest of the project’s team have integrated wearable technology into assistance dog vests or collars to show that dogs could be trained to use the four sensors to communicate specific information to their handlers. When the dog bites, tugs, or puts his mouth by one of them, a message is relayed to his handler’s earbuds or can be viewed on a head-mounted display.
Clint Zeagler, a research scientist and member of the FIDO team, offers some excellent examples on his blog of how FIDO technology will help service dogs do their jobs better, one of which is:
Police sergeant Sarah Gray knows that time is of the essence as she gives a hand signal to her Search and Rescue dog, Stryker. As Stryker begins a sweep of the woods off to his right, he picks up a familiar scent and follows it, running faster as it gets stronger. In a small hollow he locates his target: the 6-year-old child who wandered away from her family’s campsite. He grabs a rectangular object dangling from his collar and begins to bite it. The object activates a GPS communicator on his vest, geo-locating and transmitting his position to his handler and a medical team standing by. A tone tells Stryker that his work is done, and he lies down waiting for his handler and her team to arrive.
Follow the above link to read other examples, and see the vest on a working dog from Canine Companions for Independence also members of the FIDO team.
FIDO, Google Glass for Service Dogs, is an exciting development. We’ll be watching to see what products come to the pets market using this technology.
Further Reading: MIT Technology Review