This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Clever haptic vest allows owners to ‘remotely control’ their dog

24 July 2019

Dogs can be trained to respond to haptic vibration commands while wearing a modified canine vest developed by an interdisciplinary research team at BGU.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Atari

Haptics technology simulates the senses of touch and motion, which is especially helpful in a remote operation or computer simulation where the user is not able to interact with and feel physical objects.

The technology may be useful for delivering remote commands to dogs for use in search and rescue, assisting disabled handlers, and other service animal applications.

"Our research results showed that dogs responded to these vibrotactile cues as well or even better than vocal commands," says Prof. 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."

The modified, commercially available mesh canine vest contains four small vibrating motors positioned over a dog's back and sides that can be used to train or direct dogs to respond to different vibrations sent via wireless remote control. The handler can elicit different commands by controlling the site and duration of vibrations. In the demonstration video, Tai, a six-year-old Labrador retriever/German shepherd crossbreed, responds to several distinct commands, such as "spin," "down," "to me," or "backpedal."

The haptic vest may also be used with existing dog training devices that detect posture and automate reward systems. "Integrating devices will allow us to further advance the potential of fully or partially autonomic dog training to assess general behaviour, responsiveness to commands and the effectiveness of rewarding dogs for desired behaviour," says Prof. Shapiro.

Future research will test the haptic vest technology on different breeds, ages and training experience, and will integrate more advanced devices into search and rescue, military work dog and service dog programmes.


Print this page | E-mail this page

Hammond White Paper