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    New dog collar that could predict trouble with owner's wellbeing

    NewsGeneral Dog NewsThursday 17 October 2013
    Scientists are developing a collar that could potentially transform every pet dog from just man’s best friend but to man’s live saver.  The device is designed to monitor an animal’s mood and will alert people to any changes in the pet’s behaviour. For example, most pets are fed and walked at regular times during the day. Any change to thie regular routine will trigger the collar to issue an alert notifying those close to the owner.
    What this ground breaking collar has the potential to do is if the dog’s normal routine breaks then anyone from family, friends to neighbours could for example check on the elderly neighbour to check that all is ok and well.
    Scientists are hoping to develop the technology within a year and see it as a discreet way to monitor the health and wellbeing of a vulnerable pet owner. At the moment they data from the collar would have to be downloaed to a computer weach time you want to see results but they hope for a wireless and automatic synchronisation between the collar and the computer.  They are hoping that the collar would cost just £50.
    Dr Cas Ladha who is a lead researcher at Newcastle University said that ‘With the sensor, you know when the dog is being walked, so the carers will know what the owner is up to without directly monitoring them, so it is much less invasive.’
    Working with her, Nils Hammerla said that ‘Humans and dogs have lived together in close proximity for thousands of years, which has led to strong emotional and social mutual bonds.
    ‘A dog’s physical and emotional dependence on their owner means that their well-being is likely to reflect that of their owner.
    ‘Any changes such as the dog being walked less often, perhaps not being fed regularly, or simply demonstrating "unhappy" behaviour could be an early indicator for families that an older relative needs help.
    ‘This is the first system of its kind which allows us to remotely monitor a dog’s behaviour in its natural setting.’
    The collar will have sensors which tracks a dogs movement and also tracks an incredible 17 differnet actions from barking, eating, sniffing, laying and walking. It will compare this to the usual behavilour of a healthy dog. Of course it could indicate that the dog is unwell but also show that the owner is not looking after the dog in the usual way they do.
    Dr Ladha said that ‘A lot of our research is focussed on developing intelligent systems that can help older people to live independently for longer,’
    ‘But developing a system that reassures family and carers that an older relative is well without intruding on that individual’s privacy is difficult.
    'This is just the first step, but the idea behind this research is that it would allow us to discretely support people without the need for cameras.’ 

    Source: Daily Mail

    Photo: Wikipedia
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