Dogs play a vital role in the military. Not only do they provide companionship to their handlers, they patrol, perform search and rescue tasks and possibly most important, use their highly sensitive nose to sniff out explosives.
While having the ability to sniff out the exact location of an explosive can certainly save lives, the problem with using dogs to perform this task is the fact that their handler needs to be close by to issue instructions. Unfortunately, humans are quite a clumsy species, even the most well-trained military personal still run the risk of accidentally setting off an explosion, despite having a bomb-sniffing dog nearby.
To get around the problem of having to have a human handler nearby while the canine’s are doing their job, the people at Command Sight, Inc and the Army Research Laboratory have created a prototype pair of augmented reality glasses specifically designed for dogs. The idea behind the AR glasses is to provide dogs with visual cues to follow while out in the field. This means handlers can stay well-away from a danger zone while still being able to direct their four-legged partners as to where to go. It also means there’s no need for handlers issue hand or spoken commands, which can draw the attention of the enemy.
AR dog goggles could help protect Soldiers https://t.co/L9I9JOBpzg A new technology allows a @USArmy dog’s handler to give it specific directional commands while keeping Soldiers remote and out of sight! @armyfutures @usarmyccdc #ARO #innovation pic.twitter.com/V2Mdd7wOEO
— U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory (@ArmyResearchLab) October 6, 2020
To ensure the dogs are as comfortable as possible with the new prototype system, Command Sight, Inc and the Army Research Laboratory will use goggles that military canines are already used to, this way they don’t need to be trained to wear yet another piece of equipment.
The AR glasses are however still in its prototype phase, meaning the device is wired, which requires a handler to be nearby. The people behind the glasses also need to conduct further research on canine behaviour and perception to make the device as effective as possible. The bright side is that Command Sight, Inc have already secured funding for the next phase of the project, which will see them develop a wireless pair of AR glasses in the future, according to Engadget.