In an emergency, knowing where your loved ones are and how they’re doing helps remove a lot of the stress. While portable communication devices like phones are already part of our everyday lives, they’re not always reliable – your phone’s battery might run out, or you might not get any signal from where you are. That’s why Laura Boffi, Mary Huang and Li Bian created the Messenger Dog concept. It’s kinda like a rescue dog…except it’s not meant to save you. But it can help you contact someone who can.
The idea is that in case of a disaster or emergency, a fleet of trained dogs strapped with “weatherproof, Internet-connected coats” will go around ground zero, giving people a means to call for help, or even just to let their loved ones know that they’re fine. The system uses an iPod Touch installed with NADA Mobile, “an enhanced version of Mobile Safari that gives you access to the accelerometer, GPS, microphone–and can even be used to read the value of an external analog sensor attached to the device’s mic input (without using a computer or a microcontroller).”
I think it’s a neat idea, but this is a very risky job even for a human, and probably moreso for our canine friends who can’t speak human. I’d rather have messenger robots, but if someone can invent the dog collars from UP then I’m all for talking dogs.
[via Slash Gear]