Can You Hear Me Now? Computers Tell Us What Horses Really Think

by | 07.25.2016 | 11:30am

British researchers are working on software that would allow horses to tell humans what they are thinking and feeling.

Lead by computer scientist Dr. Steve North, a research fellow in the University of Nottingham's Mixed Reality Laboratory, the animal-computer interaction software identifies horse behavior from video so humans can interpret each animal's reactions and understand why they are happening.

The Horse Automated Behavior Identification Tool (HABIT), could indicate if a horse is sick, suffering or stressed. The application could be used at boarding barns, personal farms, zoos and vet clinics.

Though human-computer interaction is well established, animal-computer interaction is an emerging scientific discipline. It focuses on the relationship between animals and technology. There currently is no software that can reliably analyze video and record behaviors.

Dr. North hopes that HABIT will also be able to assess how animals react to new surroundings. Currently, equine behavior assessment is based on human interpretation, which can lead to consistency issues and bias. It is thought that this research will also prove a boon to veterinarians as they work to interpret what the horse is trying to express through its body language.

Read more at Horse Talk.

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