The Smart Emergency Response System uses wireless sensors to turn search and rescue dogs into souped-up emergency first responders.

From herding sheep to helping the blind, dogs have worked alongside humans for centuries. One team competing in the White House Presidential Innovation Fellow project's SmartAmerica challenge envisions a future where dogs, equipped with wireless sensors on their harnesses, assist first responders in disaster areas.

Dubbed by researchers an “Internet of Dogs,” the canine teams are one aspect of the Smart Emergency Response System (SERS), which also relies on drones, human responders, and robots to provide sophisticated emergency relief that emphasizes automatic communication. A smartphone app starts the response process by creating a hotspot using phones in the area, after which a team of responders is deployed to help survivors.

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