A virtual dog may soon help reduce the occurrence of bites from [actual] dogs.
The University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) recently undertook a project in collaboration with the Dogs Trust and University of Liverpool to create a virtual reality experience to help humans better understand the indicators of aggression in dogs.
The project team sought to model dog behaviors and body language faithfully to allow human participants to experience, first-hand, in 3D, these signs themselves. The virtual dogs in the VR experience demonstrate behaviors from the Canine Ladder of Aggression, including front paw raising, lip licking, lowering of posture, the displaying of teeth, and growling.
“The next steps will look to enhance the detail within the immersive environment to ensure the simulation is as realistic as possible. Future developments will also show a wider range of dog behaviors and the dog’s reactions to user behavior.”
— Iain Cant, Team Leader, VEC Visualization Team
The team hopes the project will help educate the public and consequently curb the number dog bites. In the United States, there are roughly 800,000 dog bites that require medical treatment every year. In the United Kingdom, there are nearly 7,000 hospitalizations to to bites every year.