Researchers at North Carolina State University have created a device that notifies users if their guide dogs are upset or sick. Because dogs are usually expressed disease or stress through breathing, posture, and heart rate it may be difficult for the blind or otherwise disabled people to say when they do not feel well. This device measures the breathing and heart rate of the dog harness and vibrates the handle to prevent the owner of the dog is ill or suffering from heat stroke.

“Dogs primarily communicate through their movements and posture, making it difficult or impossible for people who are blind, in order to fully understand the needs of their dogs based on moment to moment,” said David Roberts, associate professor of computer science in the state of NC. “This problem is particularly noticeable in the guide dogs, which are bred and trained to be quiet and apparently not to attract attention in the community.”

The system can also tell when a dog is stress or anxiety, both of which are major factors in the management of dog retirement. The system vibrates gently to report on the status of the dog owners. One engine with more heart beats in time with the dog, and the other motor vibrates when the dog is breathing. If any of these engines vibrates too much the owner can stop and check things out.

The project will appear in the document entitled “Towards Non-visual control dogs physiology in real-time by blind handlers” at the Second International Congress on Animal computer interaction, in Johor, Malaysia.