Dogs! You sometimes need to walk them, but maybe you don’t want to.
Sure, you could walk your dog on a treadmill or giant hamster wheel inside the house (Fig 1), but maybe you still want to give your dog the authentic outdoor-walk experience. Currently: not possible.
Fig 1: Ancient people knew that a “turnspit dog” could be an all-natural eco-friendly power source for charging a cell phone. Image is from a historical woodcut.
A human on a dog walk typically provide two things: 1) navigation guidance and 2) the ability to pull on a dog’s leash if necessary.
As described below, we can easily replicate these two factors without requiring a human to go on the walk (Figs. 2a, 2b):
Fig 2: The dog will wear a sweater-like harness (blue) with an attachment point at the top. This harness should also include a GPS tracker.
Fig 3: This attachment point will have an articulated set of powered joints coming out of it, which will support a false hand (green) that holds the leash (yellow). The hand can be remotely controlled to pull the leash in various directions. (The harness provides the support / counter-force to allow the hand to pull on the leash.)
Once the harness is properly attached, and the leash is affixed to the artificial hand, the dog is ready for a walk!
Fig 4: By extending the hand backward or forward, the dog will feel as if it is being pulled in that direction (although the harness/hand combination is not capable of pulling the entire dog in any direction at all).
We have two options for actually controlling the hand:
- The walk could be handled automatically by a computer (using the GPS data to control the hand
- Or a human operator could manually direct the leash-holding hand, as shown in figure 5.
Fig 5: A camera attachment will allow the dog operator to see where they are going. For the ultimate experience, a 360° camera could be attached to allow for immersive telepresence operation via VR goggles.
PROS: Now you can walk your dog while in the safety and comfort of your own house!
CONS: May cause the powerful dog-walking industry to collapse, so there will be lots of opposition from “Big Dog-Walking.”
Supplementary Figure A: Artist’s original rendition of the dog-walking system. Captions are hand-lettered in ink.
Supplementary Figure B: Material for a future patent filing.
Supplementary Figure C: Additional material for a future patent filing. Original idea, do not steal.