Bark-operated washing machine lets dogs do laundry

Man’s best friend has a new trick thanks to a new machine that enables dogs to do their owner’s washing. Hailed as a breakthrough for disabled people relying on guide dogs, the bark-operated machine will benefit those “visually impaired, have manual dexterity problems, autism or learning difficulties.”

Rita Howson, director of UK charity Support Dogs explains.

Metro: How smart does the dog have to be?

Howson: It all relies on basic training tasks, such as retrieving, and obedience. The foundation work is key, and then the ones with potential receive ‘toolbox training’, that includes operating buttons with their noses and learning to bark on demand.

What other jobs can we expect our dogs to do for us?

They have been loading washing machines for years, the new element is to ‘speak’ on demand, which can also be a great help if someone has an accident and help is needed. We train dogs to help people with epilepsy and they can alert people to an imminent seizure, recognizing clues such as dilated pupils. They work by association and are very good at seeing behavioral changes. We have only scratched the surface, they can be used for cancer detection and in our newest program they provide assistance for autistic children. There is an amazing calming effect – it’s like therapy.

How much demand is there for the machine?

We’re placing them in households to test the benefits, and we’re looking at various options and variations. We have had great feedback from around the world with organizations interested in getting the machines for their clients, and a Japanese company are making a film about it.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…