Sun, August 14, 2022

‘DogPhone’ allows pets to call their owners 


Man’s best friend just got their own digits. University of Glasgow’s Dr. Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, in collaboration with her 10-year-old Labrador Zack, introduced the DogPhone. The device serves as a dog-to-human video call machine prototype. It seems a highly adorable way for pet owners to interact with their beloved pets from a distance. 

The device called DogPhone enables Zack to reach his person, Dr. Hirskyj-Douglas, by grabbing and moving a fluffy ball adjusted with an accelerometer. There is a video available produced by the University of Glasgow showing how this conversation tool actually works. In the video, Dr. Hirskyj-Douglas explains that once the accelerometer senses action, it makes a video call on a laptop placed in the living room, enabling the dog to interact and see the owner whenever he wishes. The owner can also use the device to call her dog. In this case, the dog is choosing if he wants to take or ignore the call.



The idea of the new pet-friendly technology inspired Hirskyj-Douglas to create something related to that after seeing many new remote tools for humans to see their pets. In the meantime, she noticed that the market seemed to lack animal-controlled devices. She said that innovators developed many systems for humans to remotely connect to their pets at home over the past few years. However, she added that creators paid little attention to how animals can control such devices and the implications of using internet systems. 

This month, Hirskyj-Douglas published a research article on the process of forming the Dog Internet. It was about the idea of Dog-to-Human interactions through internet devices and prototyping a Video Call System. 

Hirskyj-Douglas talked about her emotional side while experimenting with the DogPhone. She said that, in the beginning, she found out it seemed very exciting receiving calls from her dog. However, by the end of the experiment, she became very emotional as her Labrador Zack stopped calling her. In the promotional video, she said that it made her very anxious. She added that, in her opinion, Zack experienced the opposite situation. Hirskyj-Douglas said that Zack was initially confused by the device before getting familiar with it. Which was the reason he was calling her more from the beginning. 

Hirskyj-Douglas also firmly believes that, besides being amusing, the DogPhone proves that people can form technology differently for animals. She added that animals can be active tech users as well.


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