the device could relieve the pain of lonely bitches

Inventors hope the DogPhone could alleviate separation anxiety in 'pandemic puppies' accustomed to human contact

Inventors hope the DogPhone device could alleviate separation anxiety that ‘pandemic puppies’ had, who became accustomed to human contact during lockdowns.

Does your chihuahua need a chinwag, or will the yorkie yake, the greyhound needs to gossip and the corgi loves a chat?

Lonely dogs may soon be able to call their absent owners using a new device invented by animal technology researchers in the UK and Finland, they said on Wednesday.

The DogPhone works when the pet shakes a ball equipped with an accelerometer, which triggers a nearby laptop to make a video call to the owner’s device.

It was invented by the University of Glasgow’s Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, with the help of her labrador Zack and colleagues from Aalto University in Finland.

After Hirskyj-Douglas showed “lab assistant” Zack how to make a call using the ball, he was given the toy to play with for 16 days.

Despite being chased by some unintentional calls, Zack used the prototype to contact his owner and show off his toys.

Hirskyj-Douglas, a specialist in animal-computer interaction, responded by showing the pet his office, a restaurant, and a street bush, causing Zack to approach the screen.

“Of course, we can not know for sure that Zack was aware of the causal link between taking the ball and making a call, or even that some of the interactions that seemed random were actually unintentional on his part,” she said.

“However, it is clear that on some occasions he was certainly interested in what he saw and that he exhibited some of the same behaviors that he shows when we are physically together.”

The team hopes that DogPhone, which is undergoing further testing, can help ease separation anxiety that “pandemic puppies” have, who became accustomed to constant human contact during lockdowns.


DogPhone could allow ‘pandemic puppies’ to stay in touch with their owners


More information:
Ilyena Hirsky-Douglas et al., Forming the Dog Internet, Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction (2021). DOI: 10.1145 / 3488539

© 2021 AFP

Citation: Give the dog a phone: device could ease pain for lonely mutts (2021, November 17) retrieved November 17, 2021 from https://techxplore.com/news/2021-11-dog-device-ease-pain-lonely. html

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