Robot Service Dogs

Charlie Kemp is a Georgia Tech professor and robotics researcher. He is also dog father to a Goldendoodle named Daisy. Since getting Daisy his work...
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Charlie Kemp is a Georgia Tech professor and robotics researcher. He is also dog father to a Goldendoodle named Daisy.

Since getting Daisy his work has been going to the dogs, literally. Kemp and his colleagues are working on developing a robot dog that could perform the same functions as a service dog.

At a skinny 5 feet 7 inches, with wheels instead of paws, their robodog named El-E (pronounced “Ellie”) doesn’t look anything like a real dog.

But El-E can open doors and cabinets, fetch dropped objects and do other service dog functions — all without ever needing to eat or relieve itself.

Ultimately, Kemp and co-researchers plan to train El-E to do things not even highly skilled service dogs can do, such as dial a cellphone for help or relay information about its companion’s condition to a doctor.

Robots do serve many functions in society, so I can see this as a logical next step. Of course there would be no tail wags, unconditional love, and it isn’t easy to snuggle up next to a robot. On the flip side, for those that may have trouble physically or financially caring for a dog it may be a good option, time will tell.

* The pic above is dubbed BigDog, being developed by Boston Dynamics.

1 thought on “Robot Service Dogs”

  1. It is past time for a robot service dog to be available. I am in the Atlanta area, have had 2 service dogs in the past and would be glad to work with you on this project. Although I am not an engineer, I was married to a Tech graduate, and my current husband is also a technician. I can help develop a list of tasks needed by the disabled, and work with the robot to demonstrate the needs of disabled individuals.
    At any one time, there are between 1500 and 2000 individuals waiting for a service dog to become available. The breeding, selection, training and matching the disabled with the most appropriate dog is an 18 month to 2 1/2 years time frame – for each partnership.
    Thank you for your time.
    Elizabeth Riggs
    Lawrenceville GA

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