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Tech Breakthroughs Are Giving Animals the Power to Speak

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A rescue dog calling for help.

New technologies are aimed at improving human-animal communication and interaction.

Credit: Zohar Lazar

Scientists are developing new technologies to enhance human-animal communication and interaction.

One example is the work of the Georgia Institute of Technology's Melody Jackson. She is equipping service dogs with computerized vests to help summon emergency assistance via audio messages. The wearable computer can help dogs find people when their owner is incapacitated or in distress, and then pull a lever to trigger emergency messages. Such messages include an SOS alert that also provides global-positioning system coordinates. When Jackson created an accompanying touchpad for service dogs to be used in tandem with the vest, the animals learned it would detect a signal if they hovered their nose over the pad.

Meanwhile, Open University's Animal-Computer Interaction Lab has developed a sensor that measures the sniffing pattern of cancer-detecting canines as they evaluate samples.

Other animal-computer interaction technologies under investigation include a system for helping humans and dolphins communicate, video games that cats can play with humans, and sensors developed by Jackson to monitor horses and broadcast signals of impending lameness.

From Wired
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