US Army to Develop Special Goggles for Dogs

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. augmented reality / ˈɔgˌmɛn tɪd riˈæl ɪ ti / (n) – a technology used to add something to the view of a real-life environment

    Some gaming apps use augmented reality to make virtual objects appear to be in the player’s actual surroundings.

  2. in the works / ɪn ðə wɜrks / (idiom) – in the process of being developed

    Additional upgrades for the software are still in the works.

  3. equip / ɪˈkwɪp / (v) – to provide something with a particular feature

    All the hotel rooms are equipped with their own bars.

  4. cue / kyu / (n) – a signal for someone to do something

    She took the teacher’s thumbs up as a cue to begin her presentation.

  5. deploy / dɪˈplɔɪ / (v) – to strategically move and organize people or things, especially for a military purpose

    More soldiers will be deployed to the battlefield tomorrow.


Read the text below.

The US Army is developing augmented reality (AR) goggles for military dogs to assist soldiers during operations.

The goggles, which are funded by the army, are being developed by the Seattle-based company Command Sight. According to its developers, the device will allow military canines to easily receive and follow commands from their handlers even from a distance.

Military dogs typically receive instructions from their handlers through hand signals or laser pointers. Handlers also use portable radios with cameras, which can sometimes confuse the dogs and potentially endanger soldiers. With the AR goggles, dog handlers will be able to see from their animal’s point of view and give easy-to-understand instructions.

The goggles are still in the works, but Command Sight has already created a prototype after modifying regular protective goggles that military dogs use on missions. The team equipped these goggles with an electronic display so the dogs can see visual cues meant to guide and direct them.

The AR goggles are connected to a computer that shows what the dog is looking at. Military dog handlers operating the computer can click anywhere on the screen, sending a signal to the AR goggles and directing the dog’s attention to a specific place.

Command Sight founder AJ Peper said that it might take some time before the AR goggles can be used in the field. However, he believes that the technology can revolutionize how dogs are deployed for military operations once it becomes commercially available.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think the goggles can be useful outside the military? Why or why not?
• Apart from using AR goggles, what are other effective methods to survey an area without putting people in danger (e.g. using robots)? Discuss.

Discussion B

• How can people ensure that animal training for military/security purposes is ethical? Discuss.
• Do you agree with the idea of using animals like dogs for military/security purposes? Why or why not?