Videocall from Bello – With the DogPhone your dog can call you at work

Published25. November 2021, 15:56

You are out of the house but your dog misses you deeply? With the invention of a British scientist, he should still be able to contact you in the future.

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The researcher Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas invented a so-called DogPhone.

University of Glasgow

This should enable dogs that have to stay at home to reach their owners en route.

This should enable dogs that have to stay at home to reach their owners en route.

University of Glasgow

This is possible using a specialized toy.

This is possible using a specialized toy.

University of Glasgow

  • A scientist from Great Britain invented the so-called DogPhone.

  • This is a technology that allows a dog to call its owner from home.

  • However, the DogPhone is still a prototype.

  • But it has great potential, according to the developer.

Certain offices allow dogs to be brought into the workplace, but this is strictly prohibited elsewhere. Often, however, dog owners long for their animals or wonder what their four-legged friends are up to at home alone. Or it is the other way around and the dog misses the master or mistress. The British scientist Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas is also familiar with the problem. She does research at the University of Glasgow and owns a ten-year-old Labrador named Zack.

In order to be able to keep in touch with her four-legged friend while at work, she invented the so-called DogPhone. This is a device with which the dog can reach the owner at any time via video call. This works with a ball that recognizes when the dog picks it up and shakes it. Then a video call is automatically started on a laptop, allowing Zack to see his owner and interact with her whenever he wants.

Lonely dogs

According to Hirskyj-Douglas, this is a first test run of what such a technology could achieve. For example, such a device could help pets who have got used to the presence of the owners at home during the time of lockdown and home office, but now feel lonely when they suddenly have to go back to the office.

“There are already hundreds of dog toys that can be connected to the Internet,” explains Hirskyj-Douglas. “But these are primarily technologies that help the owner and not the animal itself – such as surveillance cameras. Very few take the dog’s needs into account. ” Therefore, she wants to give the dog back control with the help of the DogPhone and give him the opportunity to decide for himself when he wants to use it and when not.

Zack calls

The test of the DogPhone finally showed that the Labrador Zack actually made use of it. In the first two days, 18 calls were made. Half of those were inadvertent calls accidentally made while taking a nap. However, on some of the calls Zack was awake on, the dog interacted with the screen showing its owner and showed her several of his favorite toys.

After a few rounds of improvement, in which, among other things, the motion sensor was fine-tuned to the desired movements, there were fewer random calls. On average, Zack then made five calls a day answering his owner and showing behaviors that suggested he believed he was actually in a room with her.

“Of course we can’t be sure that Zack really understood that he was triggering the call with the ball,” admits Hirskyj-Douglas. “But it is clear that a few times he was very interested in what he saw.” Now it is a matter of refining the technology and making it accessible to other dogs.

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