The accelerating advancement of technology in recent decades has provided human beings with tools to perform previously impossible tasks. Now what happens when we offer this same power to our pets? A researcher from the University of Glasgow sought to answer this question with his incredible invention: the DogPhone.
Translated as the “perrophone“This device will allow domestic dogs to communicate with their owners over long distances. Dr. Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, a specialist in animal-computer interaction at the University’s Faculty of Computer Science, sought with his invention that pets can improve your life and well-being by having more control over your needs and the way they communicate them to others, particularly to their masters.
DogPhone is a device in the shape of a ball, equipped with a accelerometer. When a dog picks it up and shakes it, the accelerometer detects movement and starts a video call on a laptop installed in the house. This allows the dog to see and interact with his owner whenever he wants. The owner can also make the call on the device and the dog can choose to answer it or ignore it.
“The dogs have been trained to answer calls, but no one really knows what a dog would do if it had control of a video call. This device was really designed to turn it around and see what a dog would do if they had control of the video and the internet themselves.“Hirskyj-Douglas explained in a video released by the university.
Hirskyj-Douglas tested the prototype on his own pet, a 10-year-old Labrador named Zack. After several demonstrations so that she understands how to use it, the researcher gave the toy to Zack so that he could operate it for 16 days spread over a period of three months. While Zack made some “accidental” calls when he slept on the ball, several of the intentional calls involved the dog. showing his owner his toys and approaching the screen, which suggests that he wanted to interact with her.
“I think, from this experiment, what is really shown to me is that we can actually form technology very differently for animals. Animals can be active users of technology. They can control the technology. We just have to change the way we think about how we see the future of canine technology“Hirskyj-Douglas concluded.