‘Fitbit for pets’ tracks heart rate and breathing of man’s best friend

***EMBARGOED UNTIL 11.00 GMT, TUES FEB 25TH (06.00 ET)*** Video grab of the 'dog fitbit' being tested. See National News story NNpets. A Fitbit-style health tracker for PETS has been invented by British boffins. Pet owners may soon be able to track their furry friends' health by monitoring their heart and breathing rates with a new fur-friendly device. The wearable technology, created at Imperial College <a href=

Pet owners may soon be able to track their furry friends’ health by monitoring their heart and breathing rates with a new fur-friendly device.

The wearable technology, created at Imperial College London, provides a new way to measure vital signs without direct skin contact. The sensor, which can measure through fur and up to four layers of clothing, could also help vets monitor animals during surgery – without the need for shaving. Study lead author Dr Firat Guder said: ‘Wearables are expected to play a major role in monitoring health and detecting diseases early.

‘Our stretchy, flexible invention heralds a whole new type of sensor that can track the health of animals and humans alike over fur or clothing.’

The device is made from a silicone-water material which tightly moulds to the shape of the fur, clothing or body part it is placed on.

An inbuilt microphone picks up sound waves – like a stethoscope – which are transmitted to a computer.

***EMBARGOED UNTIL 11.00 GMT, TUES FEB 25TH (06.00 ET)*** How the device works. See National News story NNpets. A Fitbit-style health tracker for PETS has been invented by British boffins. Pet owners may soon be able to track their furry friends' health by monitoring their heart and breathing rates with a new fur-friendly device. The wearable technology, created at Imperial College London, provides a new way to measure vital signs without direct skin contact. The sensor, which can measure through fur and up to four layers of clothing, could also help vets monitor animals during surgery - without the need for shaving.
The sensor is worn on a strap around the dog and is like a flexible ‘watery stethoscope’ listening out for changes in wavelengths – it analyses the waves to detect heart and breathing rates (SWNS)
***EMBARGOED UNTIL 11.00 GMT, TUES FEB 25TH (06.00 ET)*** A) How the device is produced. B) The wireless electronics, battery, and micro-phone. C) How the harness is produced by embedding the microphone amplifier with silicone. See National News story NNpets. A Fitbit-style health tracker for PETS has been invented by British boffins. Pet owners may soon be able to track their furry friends' health by monitoring their heart and breathing rates with a new fur-friendly device. The wearable technology, created at Imperial College London, provides a new way to measure vital signs without direct skin contact. The sensor, which can measure through fur and up to four layers of clothing, could also help vets monitor animals during surgery - without the need for shaving.
There are a series of liquid like sensors that sit in a small silicon mould – the sensors can be loaded with location trackers as well as health monitors (SWNS)

The cheese will melt just enough to stick to the inside of the Kong.

First author Yasin Cotur said: ‘The sensor works like a watery stethoscope, filling any gaps between it and its subject so that no air bubbles get in and dampen the sound.’

Researchers believe this technology could allow pet owners to track their animals in real time. Integrated motion sensors could enable people to track movements through a smartphone app. It would show where their pets are and whether they are standing, sitting, lying, and in which direction, live.

The technology could even help improve the work of sniffer dogs used to detect bombs and missing persons. They are trained to sit or bark when they detect a target object like an explosive device or person stuck in rubble after an earthquake.

When dogs ‘alert’ to target objects, their heart and breathing rates increase because they are excited to be rewarded.

***EMBARGOED UNTIL 11.00 GMT, TUES FEB 25TH (06.00 ET)*** Video grab of the 'dog fitbit' being tested. See National News story NNpets. A Fitbit-style health tracker for PETS has been invented by British boffins. Pet owners may soon be able to track their furry friends' health by monitoring their heart and breathing rates with a new fur-friendly device. The wearable technology, created at Imperial College London, provides a new way to measure vital signs without direct skin contact. The sensor, which can measure through fur and up to four layers of clothing, could also help vets monitor animals during surgery - without the need for shaving.
Researchers tested the sensors on dogs to find out what it can detect through fur. It makes use of sound waves rather than the green lights used in traditional sensors so doesn’t need skin contact (SWNS)

Researchers say the new sensor could help measure ‘alerting’ behaviour by measuring how excited the dogs are.

An inbuilt algorithm might be able to tell the strength of the dog’s reaction to the smell it detects and even work out how ‘sure’ the dog is of finding the desired object.

Instead of buying special Kong stuffing, stuff a Kong with cheese cubes and place in the microwave for five seconds.

The sensors have been tested on dogs and humans, but the researchers hope to adapt them for use on other pets, as well as horses and livestock. Mr Cotur said: ‘The next step is to validate our system further with animals, primarily focusing on sniffer dogs and then horses and livestock later on.’ The research was published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.