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A Dog’s Best Friend?

A robot called ORo can take care of a dog when its family isn’t home.

A yellow Labrador chases a ball that is flying away from a small robot in a living room.

© Ogmen Robotics Inc. 2022-2024

Imagine a robot that can play fetch with your dog!

Dogs love company, so they can get lonely when left by themselves. That’s why Ogmen Robotics developed ORo, a robot that can care for a dog when its family isn’t at home.

Humans who are at work or running errands can watch and speak to their dog through ORo’s video screen. They can also pre-load ORo with treats and use an app on their phone to tell the robot to give one (or several) to their dog. ORo can even play fetch with a playful pooch, launching a ball so the dog will chase it. If the dog brings the ball back, ORo will throw it again…and again.

But the robot doesn’t just respond to human commands. It uses artificial intelligence (AI), a kind of technology that lets machines learn new information. ORo learns the layout of a home, so it can follow active pups all over the house without bumping into walls or furniture.

A robot facing a dog and identifying its mood with an inset of a woman holding up a phone showing a live image of the dog.

© Ogmen Robotics Inc. 2022-2024

Ogmen Robotics says ORo the robot can learn about a dog’s mood.

That’s not all. Oro can also learn about a dog’s behavior patterns so it begins to recognize signs that the dog wants to play or feels anxious. It can respond to many of the dog’s needs, too, with a game of fetch or some soothing music.

Of course, there’s no substitute for a dog’s loving family. But Ogmen Robotics claims that ORo is the next-best thing—at least, until the humans return.

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Fun Fact

In 1975, Gary Dahl began selling pet rocks—and people bought them!
Three panels show a leash, a rock with googly eyes, and a dog bowl with dog food.
© BillionPhotos.com, AlenKadr, Garrett/adobe.stock.com; Photo composite Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Pet rocks don’t need to be walked or fed!

Service Dogs of All Kinds

Photos of a guide dog, a mobility support dog, a psychiatric service dog, and a medical alert dog at work.

© M, Bogdan Rosu Creative, narak0rn, IconLauk/adobe.stock.com; © Grejak, Jeroen Van Den Broek/Dreamstime.com; © The Washington Post, Vince Talotta—Toronto Star/Getty Images; Photo composite Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

(Clockwise from left) A mobility assistance dog, a guide dog, a medical alert dog, and a psychiatric service dog.

Dogs have traits that can make them ideal helpers. They’re loyal to humans, plus they have physical capabilities, like an amazing sense of smell, that people don’t have. Service dogs are trained to do certain tasks for people with disabilities or illnesses. Here are just a few of the tasks dogs have been trained to do.

  • Allergy detection dogs: Can tell when a food item contains an allergen, like peanuts.
  • Diabetic alert dogs: Can tell when a person with diabetes has dangerously high or low blood sugar.
  • Mobility assistance dogs: Can perform tasks like opening doors, turning on lights, and fetching objects for people with physical disabilities.
  • Seizure alert dogs: Can protect a person who is having a seizure by moving them to a safe place and then placing pressure on the person’s body. Can call for help.

Machine Helpers

A robot with a dog’s face is next to a restaurant server with a plate of chicken and vegetables.
© velirina/stock.adobe.com
Robots can do many things for people—and dogs! If you invented a robot, what would you like it to do? Learn more about robots at Britannica.
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Word of the Day

confidant

Part of speech:

noun

Definition:

: a trusted friend you can talk to about personal and private things

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