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Military dogs can scout ahead for explosives and other hazards but need instructions. In current combat deployments, soldiers usually direct their animals with hand signals or laser pointers – both of which require the handler to be close by.
The US Army exposed augmented reality goggles for combat dogs, designed to let them receive orders at a distance. The goggles are designed to let the dogs’ handlers direct them, safely out of harm’s way.
The technology, made by Command Sight, is managed by the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL).
Inside the prototype AR goggles, the dogs can see a visual indicator that they can be trained to follow, directing them to a specific spot.
The handler, meanwhile, can see what the dog sees through a remote video feed.
“AR will be used to provide dogs with commands and cues; it’s not for the dog to interact with it like a human does,” said Dr Stephen Lee, a senior scientist with the ARL. He explained that augmented reality works differently for dogs than for humans.
Each set of goggles is specially fit for each dog, with a visual indicator that allows the dog to be directed to a specific spot and react to the visual cue in the goggles.
The goggles themselves are not new – military dogs are already used to wearing them as protection in bad conditions or for aerial drops, but the augmented reality system is a new development.
Command Sight has been given more funding to make a wireless version of the product, which should be far more practical than the initial, leashed version, according to bbc.com.