Project Dug: Students Are Developing A Talking Dog Collar

March 6, 2019

"Squirrel!"

"Hey, I know a joke! A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, 'I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead.' Ha! It is funny because the squirrel gets dead!" ~ Dug the dog

Students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are attempting to make the talking dog collar featured in Disney's "Up" a reality.

students developing talking dog collar
Dug the Dog / Credit: Disney

Eight students are constructing a brain-computer interface that reads and vocalizes the thoughts of a Labrador retriever.

They have appropriately named the project, "Project Dug".

"Project Dug is an exploratory effort to extract actionable signal from a custom electroencephalogram (EEG) cap being built for a dog named Alma," says Bliss Chapman, who handles signal processing and logistics for the project.

"We validate whether our captured signal is actionable by classifying whether Alma sees a treat just using her neural response."

How does it work?

students developing talking dog collar
Credit: Bliss Chapman / GitHub

In order to classify EEG signals in response to a visual stimulus, the students face many challenges. For instance, the response has to be in real time.

Check out the team's progress in the video below.

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