The US Army demonstrated its new augmented reality (AR) goggles for dogs, designed and currently tested by Command Sight, a company managed by its Army Research Laboratory (ARL).
Though trained, military dogs need their handlers nearby to guide them, via hand signal or laser pen, particularly when detecting explosives or hazardous materials, and in safe retreat. This AR technology will solve the proximity requirement. Through the video feed, handlers get to see what the dogs see, enabling them to send cues that dogs will be taught to interpret.
“It’s not for the dog to interact with it like a human does. AR will be used to provide dogs with commands and cues,” ARL senior scientist, Dr. Stephen Lee, explained.
Unique goggles will be made for each dog, enabling it to effectively respond. Lee said AR impacts dogs differently from humans, adding that they are very excited about its potential. Combat dogs are accustomed to wearing goggles as protection from harmful conditions, including aerial drops. AR technology use, however, is novelty.
Command Sight’s Dr. AJ Peper disclosed that experiments yielded favorable results, with his Rottweiler, Mater, as participant.
“An ability to direct dogs with visual cues through augmented reality goggles without having to maintain close physical proximity has obvious tactical benefits in a variety of situations,” said Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Research Fellow Justin Bronk.
He believes its usefulness justifies the expense. With increased funding, Command Sight will soon launch a wireless version.
Images & Feature Image Source: Combat Sight / US Army