tnn93055 Robot dogs, of the non Aibo variety, have been surfacing quite a bit in the news as of late. Picked up a bit of news forwarded to me by a reader today out of Georgia Tech. It’s a bit old at this point, but still interesting:

Service dogs, invaluable companions providing assistance to physically impaired individuals, are an elite and desired breed. Their presence in a home can make everyday tasks that are difficult – if not impossible – achievable, enhancing the quality of life for the disabled.

Yet with a cost averaging $16,000 per dog – not to mention the two years of training required to hone these skills – the demand for these canines’ exceeds their availability.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have engineered a biologically inspired robot that mirrors the actions of sought-after service dogs. Users verbally command the robot to complete a task and the robot responds once a basic laser pointer illuminates the location of the desired action.

All in all, it’s a great advancement for all involved.  Often times, the waiting list for a service animal can be upwards of eight years. There’s no word on when these robots will be available for public consumption, but one would assume it’ll be quicker than that.