Astro the robot dog looks like and learns like its canine namesake. This 100-pound quadruped robot features a 3D printed Doberman Pinscher head, a tail, and a deep neural network computerized brain that learns from experience and can be trained. Designed and developed by a Florida Atlantic University research and psychology team, Astro's potential is far-reaching. Using deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI), scientists from Florida Atlantic University’s Machine Perception and Cognitive Robotics Laboratory (MPCR) in the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science packed Astro full of some serious technology. Unlike previous iterations of quadruped robots, Astro isn't "programmed" to perform simple tasks. Due to the kind of neural network in Astro's Doberman-shaped head, this robot can be trained to perform a wide variety of tasks, just like a real dog. Astro can see, hear, process, and respond to a wide variety of sensory input. Developmentally, Astro is still a puppy. It can sit, lie down, move forward, and perform other basic commands. The research team who built the robot wants to teach it to respond to hand signals, colors and multiple languages. Additionally, they also want Astro to recognize different people by sight, which would allow it to be paired with a wider variety of handlers. In addition to responding to cues and commands, Astro's "brain," can, with training, sync up with drones and other mechanized technology. The K9 robot could send and receive a wide variety of intel and respond to real-world input on the fly. Astro the Robot Dog's Uses Astro's is no lightweight -- it weighs 45 kilos (100 pounds) and can traverse extremely rough terrain. Not only can Astro move through challenging geographical areas like dense forests or over mountains, but it can also enter disaster zones more safely than human rescuers or search dogs. Originally, the FAU team built Astro for military applications. The robot was to serve as a scout. The team equipped Astro with over a dozen sensors including optical, auditory, olfactory, gas, and radar. Its key missions include detecting guns, explosives and gun residue to assist police, the military, and security personnel. This robotic dog can also be trained for and/or assist in the following ways, as well: Guiding the blind Pulling wheelchairs Assisting with mobility tasks Medical diagnostic monitoring Exploring hazardous environments Assisting soldiers on the battlefield Search through thousands of faces in a database Sniff
Another mundane day in the office; stocking patient rooms, prepping a few IV lines because our intel is that we had 75/25 chance of getting rocketed tonight, sweeping the Iraqi dust out of our makeshift aid station, when suddenly my heart starts pounding, tears spring to my eyes and I feel out of control.
Almost everyone knows it takes a lot of training to become a Service Dog, but few people know how much training or what kind of training. Service Dog training includes several areas of study and can take lots of time. Continue reading to learn more about the types of training Service Dogs require
If your pup is chewing, scratching, and gnawing on their paws incessantly, you might begin to suspect they are suffering from a dog food allergy. Here are the best and most effective ways to tell if your dog has a food allergy and how to manage it. But dog food allergies are not as common as you might think. It’s far more likely that your dog’s discomfort is due to fleas, allergies to fleas, and environmental allergies (dust mites, pollen, grasses, mold, cleaning chemicals, perfumes in detergent or shampoo, etc), or another common culprit, food sensitivity (aka intolerance). They all share many of the same symptoms. In the case of a dog food allergy or sensitivity, your dog’s reaction is likely something that has developed over time. What may have been perfectly fine to eat a year ago may now cause a problem—one that’s important to identify. The long-term effects, if untreated, could lead to behavioral changes and reduced quality of life (due to prolonged discomfort), as well as worsening symptoms. So, familiarizing yourself with dog food allergy (and sensitivity) is the first step in solving the problem and keeping your pup healthy and happy. Knowing the difference between a dog food allergy and sensitivity These two food-related issues share many of the same symptoms, but most often dog food allergy symptoms appear swiftly and involve itchy skin or ear and skin infections due to the body’s natural inflammatory response. Less frequently, pups will have a gastrointestinal reaction causing vomiting or diarrhea. But some unlucky pups will have both skin and tummy issues related to their dog food allergy. If your pup suffers from dog food sensitivity (as opposed to an allergy), they’re much more likely to experience gastrointestinal issues (diarrhea, vomiting, gas, lack of appetite, and weight loss) due to an inability to process an ingredient properly. They may also have intermittent itchy skin or redness that seems to resolve only to return again. The causes behind a dog food allergy When your dog has an allergic reaction, it’s because their immune system has misidentified a protein in their dog food as an invader and mounted an attack. But it isn’t the food itself, rather the protein structure in it. And it’s not just meat; some veggies contain protein, so they’re not automatically safe. Topping the list of culprits are proteins most commonly found in dog food, like beef, chicken, eggs, and dairy. But an allergy to one meat protein
Properly-trained Service Dogs can provide an incredible breadth benefits to disabled individuals. From mobility assistance and independence, assisting with everyday tasks, summoning help when needed, alerting to night terrors and more. There's a lot of focus on Golden Retrievers, Bichon Frisés and German Shepherds, but purebreds aren't the only types of dogs that can be trained to become excellent Service Dogs. Some organizations are helping homeless dogs get a second chance as Service Dogs.
If you have a working dog, such as a Service Dog, choosing the best pet insurance may help you avoid financial issues down the road. There's a saying: hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Everyone, you, your family, friends and even your pets will need medical care at some point. The same is true for your animal. Hope is Not a Strategy Pet insurance is designed to cover a range of issues depending on the level of coverage you take out. Working dogs, since they often lead a more active life, come in contact with more hazards both environmental and bacterial, some of which can prove serious. If this type of problem occurs, you could face a heartbreaking decision if you are unprepared and do not have pet insurance. Choosing the Right Coverage for Your Animal and Your Pocket The good news is that you can get pet insurance for a very reasonable cost these days and this could end up saving you a fortune in the long run as well as potentially enabling you to save your animal's life. If you want to find the best pet insurance for your needs, you need to take a range of factors into consideration, as this will make it far easier for you to make an informed choice. One of the things that most pet owners and dog handlers will look at is the cost of the coverage. Of course, you do need to take other factors into consideration as well when making your choice, but when it comes to cost, you can compare different prices and deals with ease online in order to save money. Some policies will only cover up to a certain amount for treatment, surgery, and various other issues. It is important to ensure you read the small print and that you are familiar with exactly what your animal is covered for before you make your decision. Finally, check on the reputation of the provider before you make your mind up, as you need to find one that offers a good level of service and a speedy, convenient claims process. You can find out more about this from the insurance website, but it is best to check out reviews from other pet owners who have used the same insurance company to get a better idea of what you can expect. By choosing the best pet insurance policy, you can ensure your animal is
When it comes to Service Dog tasks, there is a lot of confusion over what constitutes a real, specifically trained task and which are only perceived tasks, fueled by emotion and wishful thinking. From Service Dog handlers to trainers to medical doctors to veterinarians alike, there is historically a lot of confusion surrounding this topic.
Although no one likes to think about it, unfortunately we are going to have to say goodbye to our beloved Service Dog or pet. Sometimes however, like the grief we will feel after our animal's death, determining when it's time for them to be put down can be extremely challenging. After we make the decision, we may also question whether we made the right choice. Here are a few tips on saying goodbye and making the decision to euthanize your dog.
Service Dogs and Assistance Dogs aren’t the only dogs in the world who do amazing, life-changing work, but they are one of the few types of working dogs clearly defined and protected by United States federal law. Too many people don’t understand the differences between many types of working dogs, though, and it’s time to clear up some of the confusion.
The holiday season is a perfect excuse to grab some hot chocolate and snuggle up on the couch with your Service Dog, Working Dog or pet! Here are some of our favorites that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit. 1. A Dog Named Christmas A Dog Named Christmas tells the story of Todd, a developmentally delayed 20 year old, who loves animals. When Todd hears that the local animal shelter wants to adopt dogs out for Christmas, Todd is right on board, much to the dismay of his father George. With persistence Todd is eventually given permission to bring home a yellow lab he names Christmas. Little does the family know that Christmas will change their life forever. Check out the trailer here. Rating: PG Length: 1:35 Year: 2009 2. Beethoven's Christmas Adventure Photo Credit: IMBdOur favorite Saint Bernard is back in Beethoven's Christmas Adventure. When Santa's sleigh crashes in a small town and the magic toy bag is stolen, it's up to Beethoven to find the bag and return it to Santa in time for Christmas. Sure to be a family favorite. Watch the trailer here. Rating: PG Length: 1:30 Year: 2011 3. The 12 Dogs of Christmas The 12 Dogs of Christmas takes place in 1931 in Maine during the Depression and tells the story of a young girl named Emma who uses 12 special dogs to show everyone the true meaning of Christmas. Watch the trailer here. Rating: G Length: 1:42 Year: 2005 4. 12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue The 12 Dogs of Christmas was followed by a sequel titled 12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue. Emma is back again, but this time follows her quest to save a local puppy orphanage, by putting on a big holiday event. Watch the trailer here. Rating: PG Length: 1:42 Year: 2012 5. Buddies Movies As a follow up to the classic Air Bud movies, Disney released three different buddies movies that the kids will love! The titles are: Santa Buddies (2009), The Search for Santa Paws (2010) and Santa Paws 2 (2012). Click on each of the titles to watch the trailer for each of these movies. Rating: G Length: Varies Year: 2010 6. The Dog Who Saved Christmas When the Bannister's welcome a new dog named Zeus into their home, he doesn't appear to be the guard dog that the family is looking for. But when two burglars break into their house when they are away for the holidays, Zeus sets out to