Brilliant 10: Alper Bozkurt Turns Animals Into First Responders

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - 05:30 in Psychology & Sociology

Alper Bozkurt Alexander Wells In 2009, Alper Bozkurt went to see Up, an animated movie that features a talking dog. An electrical engineer at North Carolina State University, he had been developing instruments to control cockroaches for search-and-rescue missions. But the movie gave him a new idea: What if he adapted his work for dogs? Canines have long been used for search-and-rescue, but disaster zones can hamper their abilities. Because handlers rely on audio and visual cues, dogs must remain nearby, limiting the area they can cover. Bozkurt decided to build a cross-species communications system that defies distance. It enables humans and dogs to work together to save lives, even when separated by rubble. The system consists of a harness fitted with sensors. Some track the dog’s vital signs and others monitor its movement,...

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