Dog owners often feel they have a special emotional bond with their furry friends, but a new vest offers to let owners see exactly what their pet is thinking.
A Japanese company, Langualess, has created the clip-on Inupathy harness that measures a dog’s heart rate through their fur, CNET reported.
It was shown off this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and a US launch is planned for later this year.
The vest analyses the animal’s heart rate, and predicts what emotional state the animal is in, displaying it in colour-coded form on the vest.
The data is based on tests on real dogs, where the dogs were given treats and had their heart rate measured in response.
The vest transmits data to an app, which allows owners to track their dog’s emotional state over time.
If the vest shows a blue light, the animal is relaxed, and a red light shows excitement.
Dogs were first domesticated 40,000 years ago, and dogs have evolved the ability to understand human words and gestures over the millennia.
A study last year found that people can ‘read’ dog emotions, but that the ability to recognise dog emotions was acquired through age and experience.
Researchers recruited 89 adult participants and 77 child participants, and presented them with photos of dogs, chimps, and humans, and asked them to rate how much the individual in the picture displayed happiness, sadness, anger or fear.
Older people were better at recognising dog emotions accurately.
People who grew up in cultures with dogs around were more likely to be able to ‘read’ their expressions.
“These results are noteworthy,” said researcher Federica Amici, “because they suggest that it is not necessarily direct experience with dogs that affects humans’ ability to recognise their emotions, but rather the cultural milieu in which humans develop.”