Connected haptic device: The HAPNESS project aims to explore the use of vibrotactile communication between dog handlers and their dogs for doubt removal activities. In doubt removal, the dog ensures the safety of the intervention team through prior exploration of the environment. The canine brigades intervene in the field of state security, particularly during large-scale event. In this context, the activities of the brigades address the safety of people and property during direct intervention activities by defence dogs, specialised in searching for explosives or searching for people. The dogs learn to recognise a marker or combination of chemical markers indicative of the presence of explosives or human presence. They respond with a certain type of behaviour such as sitting, lying down or barking. Dog squads have so far proved to be more effective than new technologies, in the particular case of scent-based activities, for which trained dogs have remarkable abilities. With approximately 300 million olfactory sensory receptors (compared to 5 to 6 million in humans), the efficiency of dog teams remains for the moment superior to technologies such as drones in detecting efficiently and quickly a human presence that may be masked in the environment. Dog squads also exploit the instinctive abilities of dogs to explore their environment and to move around in difficult-to-reach places.
The effectiveness of the dog units depends largely on the quality of communication with their animals. Dog handlers give their orders to the dog by voice and gesture. This type of communication requires the presence of the handler, whether the communication takes place in the immediate vicinity with direct visual control or, more rarely, at a distance thanks to cameras mounted on the dog. In situations such as doubt removal, the handler may lose visual control of the dog locally. A harness equipped with vibrators would be then a way to send basic commands to the dog in a discreet manner.
The project is fund by French ANR.