The U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s research office is funding the Small Business Innovation Program to develop prototype AR goggles for military dogs,media Slash Gear reported. The project aims to provide technology that will enable human trainers to communicate with military dogs remotely, thus making dog reconnaissance missions safer. Among them, the goggles allow humans to see exactly what happens to military dogs.
The U.S. military typically uses working dogs for a variety of missions, the most important of which is to detect potential dangerous goods and bomb locations. Human trainers must guide dogs in these tasks and put themselves at risk — that’s what AR goggles do. These goggles are designed to fit the dog’s face, provide visual indication to the dog, and provide real-time images of what the dog sees.
Officials explained on the U.S. military’s website that the prototype was developed by a company called Command Sight and could fundamentally change the way humans communicate with dogs by using the technology and combining an understanding of the way dogs think and see. As shown in the figure above, the current prototype has wires, but will develop a wireless version for independent use.
Dr. AJ Peper, founder of Command Sight, said:
We are still in the early stages of applying this technology to dogs, but the results of our initial study are very promising. Most of the research so far has been conducted on my Rowena dog, Mater. It’s incredibly versatile, from other training to working through AR goggles. From a basic science and development point of view, we still have some way to go to prepare our military dogs for wear and tear in the army.
AR goggles — or similar techniques — may one day replace laser pointers and gestures as the primary means of communication with military dogs. The biggest benefit is that human trainers will be able to safely command military dogs remotely out of sight of potential threats. The military says its dogs are used to wearing goggles, so the transition to the technology won’t put much of a burden on animals.