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Goggles for dogs bring promise to save lives in warfare

A US Army research scientist says results of a trial of augmented reality goggles for war dogs are ‘extremely promising’. Are the robot hounds about to be released?

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 12/10/2020, 21:00

Founder of Command Sight, Dr AJ Peper has been hard at work testing his inventions on his own dog: Rottweiler, Mater. Dr Peper believes he has landed the perfect solution to the problem of explosives detection.

For years dogs have been used amid warfare to detect unexploded and hidden ordnance. But their ability to access the hard-to-reach places has been limited by their handlers, who (understandably) are not permitted to put their own lives in unreasonable jeopardy.

K9 goggles a go-go

Dr Peper’s latest patent concerns a pair of goggles worn by the dog. The K9 receives information and guidance from its handler, enabling it to stray further into a danger zone yet still be under direction.

K9 handlers in the field currently use flashlights or laser pens to point dogs to areas they think an explosive device may be hidden. But their doing so only allows a small radius of operations.

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The new goggles may not only enable a handler to guide a dog from further afield; the technology allows for other commanders and operatives to watch in real time a live feed broadcast from the goggles.

Early stages

Dr Peper told the BBC the project was still in its "beginning research stages", but that early results were "extremely promising".

The research programme has come under fire from those who believe it to be an unnecessary waste of money. Nevertheless Command Sight has, according to the Beeb, recently been awarded more funding to allow Dr Peper to develop a wireless version of the goggles.