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CPT, Dog Star Technologies, and Georgia Tech Collaborate for Research
February 25, 2015
Kady Interacts with the Tug Sensor
The video shows Kady, a CCI release dog owned by CPT Trainer Patricia King, interacting with the Georgia Tech FIDO Project Tug Sensor. The tug apparatus contains a pneumatic sensor and accompanying microelectronics encapsulated by a nontoxic soft silicone exterior shell and a pseudo-fur cover. The sensor determines the bite pressure and duration of each oral contact that Kady has with the apparatus. Then, through bluetooth technology, the data is sent to a nearby computer that analyzes the information.
The FIDO (Facilitated Interactions for Dogs with Occupations) Project is a function of GA Tech’s Animal-Computer Interaction Lab, operated by Prof. Melody Jackson. The FIDO Team is working in conjunction with Dog Star Technologies to develop scientific devices and protocols that facilitate the accurate determination of a dog’s suitability for specific working roles.
For instance, in the case of a service dog destined to work with a physically disabled recipient, we desire a dog with moderately high retrieve drive and with a soft mouth. A dog with too high a retrieve drive, too low a retrieve drive, too soft a mouth, or too hard a mouth would be inappropriate for the role. The dog with too high a retrieve drive may be too high-energy for the disabled recipient to control in a distracting environment. The dog with too low a retrieve drive would be unreliable when asked to retrieve dropped items. A dog with too soft a mouth would be ineffective in retrieving heavy items or items of odd textures or dimensions. And a dog with too hard a mouth would likely damage retrieved items.
However, if we were evaluating a prospective law enforcement dog that would need to perform apprehension tasks, then we would prefer a dog with both an extremely high drive and a hard mouth- meaning higher average pressure per bite, longer duration per bite, and quicker response time to the target. Whereas many canine pundits have emphasized subjectivity and personal philosophical preferences, CPT, Dog Star Technologies, and GA Tech’s FIDO Project team are leaders in using science to study canine behavior.