If you're a dog owner, you've surely wondered about the way your pet perceives the world. While it's easy to tell when they are happy because we can see them wagging their tail, we've never been certain about the exact things that capture their hearts. To demystify what triggers a dog's heart to beat faster, Nikon Asia made a special camera for a dog that would only take pictures of the things that excite him. Of course, turning a dog into a street photographer is a complex endeavor, but the results were amazing.
For this project, cleverly titled Heartography, the team mounted a camera on the chest of Grizzler, their test dog. The camera was attached to a device that snaps photos based on his heartbeat. In other words, whenever his heart rate spikes, the camera takes a picture. To achieve this, they used an external heart rate monitor that triggers the shutter of a Coolpix L31 point-and-shoot camera.
The resulting images were shared in a compelling video. The pictures are a heartwarming look at what makes a dog's day, from encounters with other dogs to their food bowl. However, the other things that make their heart race are what make this a truly insightful experiment. We see other animals, such as crabs in a tank, a pigeon on the street, and even a cat by a window. There are also more random topics, like the inside of a car trunk, a pair of flip flops, and some broken eggs.
While many have been skeptical of the great pics taken by the dog, a more detailed explanation may further clarify how this clever gadget works. According to Popular Mechanics, “An elastic band detects the dog's heartbeat, using bluetooth to send the information to the Heartography SmartCase which houses the camera. If the dog's heart rate spikes, indicating that it's excited, a microcontroller activates a servo hidden inside the case that punches the shutter, which focuses the shot then takes it.” The human in charge can also adjust the heart rate at which the camera snaps a picture.
Since Nikon Asia hasn't looked further into a commercial release for this gadget, we can only daydream and wonder about the things that our dog would take pictures of. Nevertheless, if there's one takeaway from this experiment, it's that we can try to be more like our pups, and revel in being excited about the small things in life.