Augmented reality (AR) goggles for American military working dogs could change the way areas are scouted for hazardous materials and during rescue operations.
A new technology is being developed by Command Sight to provide military working dogs in the United States with AR glasses and allow the handler to give them specific directional commands remotely.
Based in Seattle, Command Sight was started by Dr A.J. Peper in 2017 and it has so far built the first prototype of augmented reality goggles for military working dogs.
The glasses are specially designed to fit each dog with a visual indicator that gives the dog the ability to be directed to a specific spot and react to visual cues in the goggles.
The handler can see everything that is in the dog's field of vision when it is fitted with the glasses and it can provide commands through the goggles.
While the initial prototype is wired and keeps the dog on a leash, researchers aim to make the device wireless in the next phase of development.
"We are still in the beginning research stages of applying this technology to dogs, but the results from our initial research are extremely promising," Dr Peper said.
Much of the research has been conducted on Dr Peper’s own dog – a rottweiler named Mater.
"His ability to generalise from other training to working through the AR goggles has been incredible.
"We still have a way to go from a basic science and development perspective before it will be ready for the wear and tear our military dogs will place on the units," he said.
Researchers plan to spend the next two years developing a production level wireless product.
Currently, military working dogs are directed by hand signals or laser points.
Both techniques require the handler to be within sight of the dog, which could be a safety issue.
Audio commands are also sometimes used, when a camera and a walkie talkie are fitted on the dog. However, verbal commands can lead to confusion in dogs.
Cover image: A dog wears the AR goggles for military working dogs that Command Sight is currently developing (Picture: Command Sight).