Research Hitting the News

I know I haven't posted in quite a while, but I have a good reason for that. The last few months I have been involved with a research project, which focuses on augmenting search and rescue dogs with technology. Recently, our research has started making waves in national media. And I do mean "our research," since I've been working with some very talented programmers and engineers. Our dog component is one part of a larger effort called the Smart Emergency Response System (SERS), which is a collaboration between multiple universities and companies. Below is a quick overview of our dog part of the SERS system, and some links to where you can read the news stories.

As a very high-level description, we are putting modular sensor packages (natural gas detectors, radiation detectors, video cameras, GPS receivers, and much more) on dogs, and sending that information back to a remote computer. From that computer, you can view the data from the sensors, direct the dog where to go, and send text messages that will be spoken via synthesized speech. In order to direct the dog, the harness has been fitted with motors (like the vibration motors found in cell phones) that gently vibrate in patterns that the dog has been trained to associate with specific actions. Our system isn't meant to replace handlers, but to give them new capabilities and make things safer for both humans and canines.

Below are some links to news articles on our research. All of the articles that I have seen so far talk about the professors involved with the research and don't mention the grad students at all. However, Simba is pretty famous, since he's been our primary test dog throughout the development and testing process:

And here are some articles in other languages, just because that's pretty cool: