FIDO Is Far More Than Google Glass For Dogs

Thad Starner, the technical lead from Google Glass, wants to make a wearable computer for dogs.

In 2010, Google Translate for Animals was an April Fool's prank. But now one of Google Glass's advisers is working on technology to help dogs communicate with their handlers.

The original technical lead on Google Glass, who is currently a Georgia Institute of Technology professor, is now part of a project called FIDO: "Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations." This isn't technology that lets your house pet text you when it needs to go out—though that could be a potential application. FIDO's purpose is to develop wearable technology that allows assistance dogs—such as bomb-sniffing dogs, rescue dogs, or dogs who aid people with disabilities—to communicate information to their handlers.

According to MIT Technology Review, the canines would be able to activate "a sensor on their vest or collar to transmit a verbal command the handler can hear through an earpiece or see on a head-mounted display."

This is a much more advanced concept than Whistle, which is like a Fitbit activity monitor for Fido (currently available for pre-order). And perhaps less outlandish than the Interspecies Internet Project, a non-profit founded by Peter Gabriel last year to "facilitate communication between cognitive species." Because let's be honest: It's hard enough just talking to another human being wearing Google Glass.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Google is funding the FIDO project. Thad Starner has confirmed to Fast Company that Google is not associated with FIDO in any way.

[Image: Flickr user AfghanistanMatters]

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  • Palmytomo

    The idea of a working dog that is remote from its handler, to take live movie of its context, and be trained to growl a certain way to indicate smell of a trapped person or drugs, a ewe having trouble lambing, etc.