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Meet Diesel, a Cute Dog and Organic Robot

By Computerworld

June 17, 2014

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North Carolina State University professor David Roberts has transformed his pet Labrador Retriever, Diesel, into a canine that functions as a Cyber-Physical Search and Rescue Dog through a high-tech vest.

Roberts developed the vest in collaboration with fellow professor Alper Bozkurt as a way to enhance how dogs are trained and employed in key tasks. The vest is outfitted with a microphone, camera, speakers, and motors that transmit vibrations to various areas of Diesel's body, while a sensor array takes heartbeat, respiration, and other physiological readings. Gas- and radiation-detecting sensors, Wi-Fi, and Global Positioning System technology also are included to analyze the dog's environment. The vest enables the animal to roam while its handlers can track its health and its vicinity to hazards without relying on line-of-site. When the dog carries out a task that is deserving of a reward, the vest's speakers will produce a click noise and a treat will be dispensed.

"Computers can take a lot of the human error out of the process of training and communicating with dogs," Roberts says. He thinks computer-assisted technologies can be utilized to train dogs for any kind of operation.

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