23.10.2017

CU Students Create Devices To Help Us See The World Through A Dog's Eyes

Thanks to a generous grant, students and faculty at the University of Colorado are getting ready to design some unique wearable technologies. All of these new devices have to do with seeing the world from a dog's perspective.

The National Science Foundation donated $750,000 to CU Boulder's Alliance for Technology, Learning, and Society Institute (ATLAS). Professors say the $750,000 will last them at least till 2020.

Ben Shapiro, a computer science professor in ATLAS, said he was thrilled when he heard about this donation. He wants to use the money to develop wearable technologies that can help pet owners better understand how their dogs process information. Shapiro also wants his grad students' creations to inspire the next generation of science enthusiasts.

One device ATLAS students are already working on is a pair of headphones that allow users to hear with a dog's ears. These headphones will help people understand why dogs sometimes bark for no reason and why they get so afraid during thunderstorms.

ATLAS also wants to work with the latest in virtual reality (VR) technology to literally see the world through a dog's eyes. Shapiro believe this VR simulation will clear up the misconception that dog's only see the world in black and white.

In case you didn't already know, dogs see the world in color, but it's a much more limited color vision than humans possess. Many scientists have likened dog's vision to that of a person with red-green color blindness.

To spread this knowledge and get kids excited about technology, the ATLAS students will organize workshops in the local community. These grad students will teach children how they used the scientific method to create these amazing devices.

Dozens of ATLAS grad students are working on prototypes for these devices now. Students believe they'll be able to share their work with children as soon as next spring.

Besides Mr. Shapiro, Professors Michael Eisenberg and Joseph Polman were also instrumental in securing this grant. Dr. Eisenberg teaches at the Craft Technology Lab and Dr. Polman is CU's Associate Dean for Research.

Founded in 1998, the ATLAS Institute encourages students to think critically and innovate exciting technological products. You can find the main campus at 1125 18th Street in Boulder, Colorado.


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