Most people are familiar with the idea of a rescue dog, that rushes up into mountains to find lost and injured hikers, sustaining them with a small barrel of liquor strung around its neck, but only Laura Boffi, Mary Huang and Li Bian have bothered bringing the concept up to speed with the internet generation. Their Messenger Dog system basically involves strapping a weatherproof internet-connected coat to a dog, sending it running around refugee camps and disaster zones and allowing survivors to send text, voice and video messages to their loved ones.
Video demo after the cut.
As Boffi says, "In those very first hours of fear and displacement, people may just want to send a message to their beloved ones only saying that they are alive and safe, hoping the same for them as well." The working prototype is based on an iPod with NADA Mobile, but the idea is that an accelerometer would be used to turn on the system when it sense the dog sitting down by a person.
Of course, you'd also need to train the dogs so that they didn't just run away, taking your expensive telecoms-encrusted jacket with them. Flippancy aside, this sounds an ideal project for Nokia's mobile technology for development projects.
[via The Raw Feed]