Tech Breakthroughs Are Giving Animals the Power to Speak

Tech Breakthroughs Are Giving Animals the Power to Speak

IMAGINE YOU’RE A DIABETIC and you use a service dog trained to alert you if it senses your blood sugar is falling. These dogs are incredibly useful, because diabetics can lapse into “hypoglycemia unawareness,” where they don’t notice their own oncoming symptoms. The canines do, and they intervene. But sometimes a diabetic shock can emerge so suddenly the human passes out. Then the dog’s in a quandary: How does it go for help? Because dogs can’t talk. Unless they’re sporting a wearable computer that helps dogs communicate with humans. Melody Jackson, a computer scientist at Georgia Tech, has been outfitting service dogs with computerized vests, so that in an emergency they can find another human and pull a mechanical lever on the vest that triggers an audio message: My handler needs you to come with me! When people hear this for the first time, “they jump back 3 feet, because the dog is talking,” Jackson says, laughing. The dog can also do other tricks with its wearable, like triggering an SOS alert with GPS coordinates. A search-and-rescue dog could do the same. It’s all part of a curious new field called animal-computer interaction. Read More: WIRED
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