Designing an Emergency Communication System for Human and Assistance Dog Partnerships

Robinson, Charlotte; Mancini, Clara; van der Linden, Janet; Guest, Claire; Swanson, Lydia; Marsden, Helen; Valencia, Jose and Aengenheister, Brendan (2015). Designing an Emergency Communication System for Human and Assistance Dog Partnerships. In: ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2015), ACM pp. 337–347.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2750858.2805849

URL: http://ubicomp.org/ubicomp2015/

Abstract

In this research we developed an alarm system that enables assistance dogs to call for help on behalf of their vulnerable owners in an emergency, involving the end users (both assistance dogs and their owners) directly in the entire design process. Here we present a high-fidelity prototype of a user-friendly canine alarm system. In developing the system, we sought to understand the level of support required for a canine user to successfully interact with an interface, finding that the type of emergency a dog is faced with may vary widely and that consequently dogs may have to act on behalf of their assisted owners with varying degrees of autonomy. We also explored the process of conducting usability testing with both canine and human participants, seeking to identify where requirements of one species may overlap with, or diverge from, the other.

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