Researchers in Scotland and Finland teamed up to create a prototype device called a "DogPhone" that lets your dog initiate VIDEO CALLS with you.
They put a sensor in a dog toy. So any time it shakes the toy in its mouth, you get a call. There's a screen they can see you on, and a camera so you can see them.
A researcher at the University of Glasgow came up with the idea and tested it out with her 10-year-old black lab Zack for three months. She showed him how to use it, and left him alone with it every few days. And he DID call her a handful of times.
She's still not sure if he really knew what he was doing, but she got several calls where it seemed like he did. He'd approach the screen and show her some toys, and she'd talk to him through a speaker.
He also made a few calls by mistake while he was sleeping with the toy . . . so he basically butt-dialed her. And by the end of the study, there were certain times of day she expected him to call, but he didn't. So she was sad like he ghosted her.
The whole idea is to address the problem of separation anxiety now that we aren't working from home as much. There are already video chat features YOU can access. But they want to let dogs be "active users" of technology, and call if they miss you or feel anxious during the day.
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