Imagine this: "What if you can direct dogs, or your favorite pets with AR goggles?" Well, there will be no more “what-ifs”. In fact, it’s already happening in the military industry!
It all started back in 2017, when Dr. A. J. Peper founded a small business called Command Sight, Inc. At that time, he had a few conversations with current and former military operators.
Apparently, through all the conservations, Dr. Peper could conclude one thing. They all wished to increase the efficacy of communication between military dogs and handlers.
Normally, handlers give commands to the dogs through physical or voice directions. Or, if they want to point out a specific direction, they use lasers as well.
However, those methods can go wrong, especially if the dogs are off the leash and separated from their handlers. And, if the light pointed out by the laser is seen by their enemy or target, this surely will fail out their ambush strategy.
Moreover, the fact that the US Army has already been developing and implementing augmented reality for their soldiers, made Dr. Peper even more eager to execute this wild, seemingly out-of-reach idea: creating AR goggles for military dogs.
So, based on those ideas, Command Sight created their first prototype of AR goggles for military dogs. Dr. Peper took the Rex Specs goggles, which were already used by the military to protect the eyes of the dogs, as the base of the AR goggles.
Since then, the prototype was developed by the company, and managed as well by the US Army Research Laboratory. And, in around October 2020, they showcased their first-ever AR goggles for military dogs!
Dr. Peper, along with his company, implemented an optoelectronic component into the goggles, which could present guides and directions for the dogs, visualized in a heads-up display (HUD).
As a result, this brand new technology is expected to give more safety, both for the handlers and the dogs.
The handlers can hide from their enemy or target without losing any single details. They will be provided with a remote video, so they can see what the dogs see from a distance.
And, the dogs can also search for their targets comfortably and confidently off the leash by receiving orders and seeing visual indicators through their goggles.
Although it’s still in an early stage of development, Dr. Peper said the early results were extremely promising.
Of course, it took time to train them until they will get used to the technology. But, Dr. Peper already experimented with it with his own dog, Mater, and surprise-not-surprise, it works!
Since Mater was a newbie to this goggles-thingy, it took him around a week to get used to the goggles. Then, Mater spent another three weeks to get familiar with the laser, and the transition from the laser to the augmented reality indicator.
Seeing that timeline, we predict that the military dogs went through a way shorter period to get used to the goggles. Well, supposedly.
These AR goggles are set to be implemented in the future with a wireless version. The researchers predicted that it would take them two years to complete the version, so let's look forward to it, shall we?
In the end, hats off to Command Sight for making it happen!
- Business Insider | The US Army thinks these new mixed-reality 'doggles' can make special operations canines better than ever in battle
- The Verge | The US Army is testing augmented reality goggles for dogs
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