Remote Control Backpack For Dogs: Canine Command Device Could Aid In Rescue Missions, Police Work And More

By Philip Ross on September 12, 2013 4:15 PM EDT

doggy backpack
Remote control backpacks for dogs (not pictured) could be used to train the dog for rescue missions and other service work. (Photo: Flickr/musespeak)

A remote control backpack for dogs sounds like the ultimate obedience training tool for your pet. Unfortunately, the canine command device isn't for walking Fido on an iPad from the comfort of your couch.  

The device, which contains a microprocessor, wireless radio and a GPS receiver, has a more humanitarian purpose. Researchers from Alabama Auburn University developed the remote control doggy backpack to aid in human rescue missions and police work.

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"Dog handlers can't always safely access the same places their dogs can reach, and these environments are often noisy, which makes it difficult to give and receive commands," Mother Nature Network notes.

The remote control backpack vibrates and makes certain noises that the dog is trained to respond to. A small vibration on a dog's right side might signal the dog to turn - similar to the way humans steer horses.

"The results from this current work has revealed that dogs can be trained to obey audible direction-oriented commands relayed over long distances consistently and reliably for relatively lengthy periods of time with little to no human contact or intervention," researchers Jeff Miller and David Bevly said in the study, according to The Daily Mail. They describe details of the project in the upcoming issue of the International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control.

According to The Connectivist, trials for the remote control dog backpack were successful on average 86.6 percent of the time. Some trials had success rates as high as 97.7 percent.

And if remote control dogs aren't enough for you, how about remote control roaches? Scientific American reports that last year, U.S. engineers from North Carolina State University strapped electrical devices to the backs of cockroaches. They were able to control the bugs' movements by sending electrical impulses to the backpacks' receivers. From Scientific American:

[Researchers] attached the backpacks to the roaches using magnets that they glued to the insects' backs. They used tiny stainless steel electrodes to connect the backpack's circuit board to the roach's antennae and fixed them in place with medical-grade epoxy. The researchers then wirelessly sent electrical impulses to the backpack's receiver, which stimulated either the left or right antenna.

Read more from iScience Times:

'Bionic Dog': How Do Nebraska Dog's 4 Prosthetic Paws Work?

Chinese Zoo Dog: African Lion Replaced By Tibetan Mastiff, People's Park Visitors Not Happy After 'King Of Jungle' Barks [VIDEO]

Dogs Yawn Contagiously When Their Owners Do, Maybe Out Of Empathy [STUDY]

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