Innovation That Matters

The haptic vest is operated via remote control and can dictate different commands to canines | Photo source Ben-Gurion University

Haptic vest allows non-verbal communication with dogs

Computing & Tech

A university in Israel has developed what may be the first haptic device that can make non-verbal commands to canines

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Spotted: A team at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel has developed a way to train dogs using vibrations. The researchers created a modified mesh vest that uses haptic technology. Four small, painless, vibrating motors are operated via remote control and can dictate different commands to canines. 

The study appears to be the first to explore haptic technology as a way to communicate with dogs. The aim is to provide non-visual or aural communication that can be helpful in various situations. For example, when the environment is too noisy for voice commands to be effective or when the animal is simple too far away. 

“Our research results showed that dogs responded to these vibrotactile cues as well or even better than vocal commands,” said Professor Amir Shapiro, director of the Robotics Laboratory within BGU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.” Our current proof-of-concept study shows promising results that open the way toward the use of haptics for human-canine communication.”

Further research is expected to test the haptic vest on different breeds, ages and levels of training experience. It may also integrate with more advanced devices that are currently used in search and rescue and service dog programs.



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