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Dog Star Technologies Visits Berkeley, CA
February 6, 2015
This past week Mark Spivak, Greg Berns, and Andrew Brooks of Dog Star Technologies visited the University of California, Berkeley to conduct fMRI scans of 7 dogs that recently entered the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) adult training program. The 7 scans that occurred over the weekend of Jan 31- Feb 1 were the first of 50 total scans the group will analyze over a 2-year period.
The scans are a key part of a 7-figure contract between Dog Star and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The project for which Dog Star is contracted aims to find fMRI biomarkers and other correlates that accurately identify the working potential and suitability of service dog candidates.
Since service dogs provide valuable benefits to military veterans who return to civilian life wounded physically and/or psychologically, the Department of Defense has great interest in improving the identification and training of such dogs and providing financial economies of scale in the process. Consequently, tax dollars will go further by providing service dogs to a greater number of veterans.
Moreover, nonprofit service dog entities, such as CCI, will benefit from Dog Star’s research, as they will more efficiently allocate donor monies by exclusively training dogs that fMRI analysis has shown have the highest potential for success.
Dog Star Technologies is the primary contractor in the endeavor. Subcontractors include Emory University, GA Tech Research Corporation, the University of California, Berkeley, and CCI.