US Army to put augmented reality goggles on war DOGS ‘to guide them on battlefield’
THE US Army is testing high-tech goggles that can be worn by military dogs as they sniff out explosives or attack enemy combatants.
The bonkers head gear allows handlers to issue commands from afar and even digitally overlay cues onto the dog’s real world view.
The project, funded by the Small Business Innovation Research program and managed by the Army Research Office, is in its early stages.
It was profiled last week by Business Insider, who chatted with Dr AJ Peper, CEO of the US tech firm that designed the goggles.
“The system could fundamentally change how military canines are deployed in the future,” said Dr Peper of Command Sight.
Military canines are still used by the Army to sniff out explosives and narcotics, and are sometimes taken onto the battlefield.
A special operations dog called Conan played a part in the Barisha raid in Syria, which resulted in the death of then-ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Though they’re vital to key operations, working dogs require a handler nearby to communicate commands.
When it comes to sniffing out explosives, this can put their human counterpart in the blast radius – something Dr Peper hopes to fix.
His goggles feature a head-mounted display based on Microsoft’s HoloLens technology.
The dog wears the gear over its eyes, allowing handlers to issue commands remotely to their canine partners via a connected walkie talkie.
A camera feed beams what the dog is seeing to their handler, and future versions could even show instructions to dogs using augmented reality.
That could, according to Army Research Lab scientist Dr Stephen Lee, take the form of something “like a laser point” that shows the mut where to go.
“That point could guide the dog when it’s going around a turn or into a building to a specific spot, and we can see what the dog sees at the same time,” Dr Lee told BusinessInsider.
Virtual Reality v.s. Augmented Reality – what’s the difference?
Here’s what you need to know
- Virtual reality involves using a headset to simulate a virtual world
- In a VR world, everything you see will be computer-generated
- Popular VR headsets include the HTC Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift
- Augmented reality lets you see the real world, but “augments” (or adds on) computer-generated elements
- This means you’ll be able to see computer images overlaid onto your real-world view
- For instance, you could wear glasses that overlay directions onto the road in front of you
- Popular AR headsets include Microsoft’s HoloLens and the Google Glass spectacles
“That will help revolutionise how we use military working dogs off leash.”
A prototype device has already been developed and is undergoing testing at US Army research centres.
The team behind the project plans to have something ready for mass production within the next two years.
Dr Lee said that once the goggles are operational, “it’ll be one of the best camera systems period, even without the augmented reality. We’re seeing what the dog can see.”
Most read in Tech
In other news, Russia this week successfully tested a terrifying 6,000mph hypersonic nuke that’s two fast for US anti-missile systems.
the US military is developing a laser can ID terrorists by scanning their heartbeats from 650 feet away.
And, the Air Force’s $550million nuke bomber plane that can hide from Russian and Chinese missiles is nearly ready.
What do you think of the Army’s dog goggles? Let us know in the comments!
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org