The Feral Robotic Dog Project

Posted on February 26, 2007 Under Life

Natalie Jeremijenko, a loved and non-traditional professor at UCSD (and previously, Yale), has brought her amazing Feral Robotic Dog project to the West coast. This awesomely creative and interesting experiment has students transform old toy robotic dogs into toxin-sniffing, pollution hunting puppies that are released in packs on community areas. The re-engineered robots, previously only capable of barking songs and cruising carpet, sniff out the area for ozone and harmful VOCs, among other nasty pollutants. The media spectacle this creates has helped Jeremijenko and her students raise community awareness on the issue of contaminants in our everyday environments, a topic that is often overlooked due to the misconception that toxins are uncommon in common areas. While this project has been going on for over three years, the popularity of the Feral Dogs has continued to grow, as has their fun and non-stuffy contributions to the fields of science and technology. What a cool and approachable way to incorporate art and humor with science- I’m normally too right brained to get turned on by research, especially when it has to do with engineering, but I’m having so much fun saying the words “feral robotic dogs” that I might even tell my friends about this one.

Via Inhabitat