U.S. military dogs might one day be equipped with augmented reality goggles that their human servicemember partners can remotely provide guiding commands through during dangerous rescue operations or explosive device hunts.
Seattle-based small business Command Sight produced a technological prototype that could enhance troops’ safety by enabling exactly that, and some say it could fundamentally transform how the U.S. military’s canines are deployed down the line. Having completed a phase I project developing the prototype via a Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, program steered by the Army Research Office, the company was selected for funding through phase II, to further refine the potential product.
“The military working dog community is very excited about the potential of this technology,” ARO senior scientist Dr. Stephen Lee said in an announcement published Tuesday. “[It] really cuts new ground and opens up possibilities that we haven’t considered yet.”
When it comes to heeding instructions from the people that lead them, military working dogs generally follow hand signals, laser pointers, or walkie talkies and cameras strapped to their own bodies—all of which can lead to confusion for the animals or risk of unwanted exposure for humans. But the new prototype offers human handlers the ability to see from the dog’s point of view, and a means to give commands while staying completely out of sight.