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Meet the DogPhone — the device that lets dogs video call their humans


And who let the dogs online? That could be DogPhone inventor Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, a lecturer and assistant professor in Animal-Computer Interaction at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
Hirskyj-Douglas noticed that in the present pet tech market, the person expertise is centered round the proprietor, somewhat than the canine, and so she got down to change that.

After creating and testing her device, she printed her findings in a analysis paper for the Association for Computer Machinery Digital Library — and says they’re significantly related at a time when some pets are experiencing separation anxiousness after spending months with their house owners throughout the pandemic.
“No one’s really done this sort of stuff before,” Hirskyj-Douglas instructed CNN. “Where do we even begin making things from a dog viewpoint?”
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To reply that query, she did not must look too far — her personal 10-year-old black Labrador retriever, Zach, supplied ample inspiration for a way such a communication device might work. With the assist of researchers from her former office, Aalto University in Finland, Hirskyj-Douglas created the DogPhone — a sensor hidden inside a ball that triggers a video call from a pc every time it’s moved. Although Hirskyj-Douglas is not fully positive that Zach was conscious he was calling her every time he used the ball, she mentioned she by no means skilled him to make use of it, and she or he believes more dog-centric tech is required on the market. “The way that we make devices for dogs currently is not really the same standard as we make for humans — we’re treating them a bit like they don’t really have any agency,” she mentioned. “The animals that we keep in our lives are a lot smarter and deserve a lot better technology than what we have for them.”

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Hirskyj-Douglas holds the sensor that triggers a video call in the DogPhone.
Whether he was conscious or not, Zach stored Hirskyj-Douglas’s telephone ringing — by the finish of the experiment, he was calling her as much as 5 occasions a day. But when she tried to call him, he did not at all times reply — which he might do by shifting the ball. “I went into it with a very much open mind,” Hirskyj-Douglas mentioned. “Originally I kept thinking of that famous quote, ‘he’s just not that into you,’ when I was ringing him and he was just not answering my calls.” However, there was additionally a draw back to realizing that Zach had his telephone only one paw away — Hirskyj-Douglas mentioned she got here to anticipate calls from her canine at sure occasions and have become anxious about his whereabouts if he did not telephone.

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Ultimately, the researcher is planning to deal with her day job, however she says she is going to proceed to discover dog-centric units in her work and would like to collaborate with organizations on implementing them. Although Hirskyj-Douglas and Zach will proceed to work collectively on new applied sciences, they’ve their ups and downs identical to any human and their canine. “My dog’s a big sniffer, grass-eater, going around, this sort of thing,” she mentioned. “He’s very independent, my dog. So I say we go on walks together, but usually he’s on his separate walk from me.”

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