Skip to main content

Speak, Fido!


Imagine you’re out for a walk with your family. A strange dog comes up to you. It nudges nudge TETRA IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES to lightly push a person to get his or her attention (verb) I nudged my mom to let her know I was ready to leave. you with its snout. It barks at you.

You’re confused. But there’s something you don’t know: This dog has special training. Maybe its owner has an allergy allergy SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/GETTY IMAGES a medical condition that causes a person to become sick after eating, touching, or breathing something that is harmless to most people (noun) Alice's pollen allergy caused her to sneeze. . And she has eaten something that has made her sick. So the dog runs off to find help. That’s why it came up to you.

But how will the dog tell you what is wrong? It’s not like dogs can talk.

Now imagine the dog is wearing a high-tech high-tech KALI9—GETTY IMAGES involving new technology (adjective) His fitness tracker is a high-tech watch. vest. The dog tugs at a rope with its teeth. A recording plays. It says, “My owner needs help.” You would understand what the dog is up to. You would know to follow it to its owner and call 911. This is the goal of the FIDO project. It is a research project at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Schubert demonstrates the bite sensor on a FIDO project vest.


New Tricks

Dogs can be trained for many tasks. They can help us avoid foods that make us sick. They can let us know when our blood sugar is low.

“Technology can give dogs so much more power as they help their humans,” Melody Jackson told TIME for Kids. She is FIDO’s director.

FIDO director Melody Jackson poses with her dogs Sky and Schubert.


FIDO researchers designed design DAVID YOUNG-WOLFF—GETTY IMAGES to imagine and make plans for (verb) Keana designed a treehouse for her backyard. a vest. It has a tiny computer built in. It can call 911. It can play a recording. To make it work, a dog pulls a rope.

The vests are being tested. Service dogs might be wearing them soon. “This technology could be a huge game changer,” Jackson says.

Best Medicine

Dr. Susan Ryan takes a break with Wynn, a service dog in training.


Wynn is a year-old Labrador. She’s training to be a service dog. Her handler is Susan Ryan. Ryan is a doctor in Colorado. Wynn is often at the hospital with Ryan. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, hospital workers started visiting Wynn. “We get anxious when we think about the future,” Ryan says. “Wynn helps us return to the present.”