The internet of living things: Enabling increased information flow in dog—human interactions

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Alcaidinho, Joelle Marie
Jackson, Melody Moore
Abowd, Gregory D.
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The human–canine relationship is one of the oldest relationships between a hu- man and an animal. Even with this longevity and unique living arrangement, there is still a great deal that we don’t know about our dogs. What do we want to know and how can computing help provide avenues for dogs to tell us more? To address the question of “what do people wish their dogs could tell them?” In an un- published survey of UK dog-owners, the most frequent request was to know about their dog’s emotional state and the most frequent response regarding what they wish their dogs would tell them was about what they love and what they are thinking. These responses dominated the survey, outnumbering even the responses regarding the dog’s physical needs like toileting. This hunger for more and better information from dogs has created a boom in the number of devices targeting these desires with unverified claims that have appeared on the market within the past 5 years. Clearly there is a need for more research, particularly in computing, in this space. While my dissertation unfortunately does not provide a love–detector or dog–thought–decoder, it does lay out the space for what wearables on dogs could provide today and in the near future. My focus is on addressing the information asymmetry between dogs and people, specifically by using wearable computing to provide more and richer in- formation from the dog to more people. To do this, I break down the space into three categories of interactions. Within each of these categories I present research that explores how these interactions can work in the field through prototype systems. This area of research, Animal–Human–Computer Interaction is new, and the area of Canine–Centered–Computing is younger still. With the state of these fields in mind, that my goal with this dissertation is to help frame this space as it pertains to dogs and wearable computing.
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