Monday, May 27, 2024

A Smart Dog Collar May Be Able to Predict Earthquakes

A new biometric dog collar could help determine whether or not canines can sense earthquakes before humans.

According to reports, dogs and other animals tend to change their behavior before an earthquake strikes. This new collar, the PetPace, will allow individuals to study whether or not that instinct is true.

petpace collar
The PetPace dog collar was originally created to track a dog’s health parameters

The creators of the product originally intended for the collar to be a health-tracking device. Since the biometric device measures heart rate, pulse, respiration, and temperature, however, they discovered they can also use the collar to determine a dog’s stress levels; the data is then sent back in real-time.

The creators of PetPace believe this may help us predict earthquakes before they hit at full force.

According to Asaf Dagan, the co-founder and chief scientist of PetPace, the goal is to track an animal’s behavior and anxiety levels, which will then be put through AI models to determine how it correlates with earthquakes of varying magnitudes.

Currently, the company is running a project called Animal Alerts in Peru – a geographical location that experiences 90 percent of the world’s seismic activity – and have asked dog owners from the region to help with the study.

Experts may be able to ‘predict earthquakes’ by measuring physiological and behavioral changes in dogs

Depending on the data they receive, their algorithm may be able to detect patterns and ‘predict’ when a potential earthquake will hit. Dagan said they will also be testing the product on dogs that do not live in seismic areas.

According to geologist Wendy Bohon, however, it’s important to differentiate between ‘predict’ and ‘sense’ as the former suggests the animals are psychic and can foresee seismic events.

She also noted that she has never seen a convincing study that confirms animals, such as dogs, can predict earthquake as there are no precursors to these events.

Previous Studies Show that the Smart Dog Collar May Work

A 2012 paper found that nearly half of dogs exhibited anxiety a day before an earthquake hit the Pacific Northwest in February 2001 and that the animals may have picked up on the movement or foreshocks generated from the moving tectonic plates.

Many people on social media also noted that their animals behaved strangely before a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey, killing over 21,000 people.

More recently in 2020, scientists at the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior also saw a marked increase in activity in a group of farm animals prior to an earthquake.

animal alerts

For the study, they looked at multiple sheep, cows, and dogs, near the epicenter of a 6.6 earthquake that hit Italy in 2016 and found that the animals anticipated tremors from one to twenty hours ahead of the quake.

Such anecdotal evidence suggest that authorities may be able to monitor and utilize the senses of animals and plan accordingly and save lives.

According to the American Kennel Club, dogs have extremely acute senses and are able to smell and hear things that are undetectable to humans. Rachell Grant, who leads the Animal Alert project, said this makes them useful models for the phenomenon.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.


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