Messenger dogs have a long history of contributing, serving their friends and masters in mission-critical situations carrying messages across battler fields, natural disaster devastated areas and during snowy mountain rescue operations.
A team of highly innovative students at the CIID (Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design), Laura Boffi, Mary Huang (see also the Meet&Playback glove) and Li Bian, designed the interactive messenger uniform for dogs, a unique concept that can make a big difference when it comes to communication and coordination on the ground when disaster strikes.
The idea: Messenger Dogs wear a particular uniform to identify them, equipped with a device that can record messages, store geo-location and time of when each message was taken.
The dogs are trained to sit when in front of a person. An accelerometer inside the dogs interactive uniform triggers the a recording device, in the case of this demonstrator a iPod, the interface software to start.
A simple UI enables the person who wants to send a message to type the name and then start recording the message. The messenger dog then returns to the disaster coordination camp where the message can be retrieved with location and time stamp and help to be send on the way.
What a great idea to use messenger dogs for disaster relieve coordination and wearable, soft technologies do make here a lot of sense, they are light-weight, robust and flexible enough to withstand the rough and tough conditions under which such messenger dogs will be used.
I like the idea to use almost ancient communication/coordination principles like messenger dogs and fitting them out with 21st Century technology to replicate today’s communication habits when disaster strikes and our communication lifelines like cellphone and Internet cable networks are destroyed.