We've told you about steerable, remote-controlled cockroaches potentially being used by first responders in rescue operations, but scientists are now setting their sights on man's best friend.
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Jeff Miller and David Bevly, mechanical engineers at Auburn University, have built a remote control system for dogs. Worn like a canine backpack, the system includes a microprocessor, wireless radio, GPS receiver, plus an attitude and a heading reference system. The command pack also delivers audio tones and vibrations, to which the dog has been trained to respond.
The autonomous guiding system leads dogs to pre-programmed GPS points, though it could feasibly be used the send commands in real time. In tests, dogs using the system showed an obedience accuracy rate of almost 87 percent.
Miller and Bevly eventually hope the system will assist first responders in emergency situations where it's difficult for humans to navigate. The researchers also foresee applications to help guide the visually impaired.