The corona dogs, which are trained to detect coronavirus by scent, have started working at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport in September 2020. According to research, dogs can detect the virus more accurately than laboratory tests and test result is available in few minutes. Using dogs in corona testing is a voluntary-based pilot experiment. In the future, dogs could also be used in other locations, such as hospitals and retirement homes.
To enhance training, RFID-based solution is deployed to reduce the amount of manual work, such as managing samples, documentation and tracking the learning process. This will speed-up and improve dog training.
The initiators of the sniffer dogs training and research are Nose Academy Oy and Wise Nose – Smell Detection Association in Finland. Nose Academy is the innovator, developer and the commercial operator of the RFID test track. Wise Nose educates dogs and is the co-operator in research and the contributor of the smell detection.
The main challenge in dog training is a large amount of manual work. Due this there is a need to digitalize work phases. Although there is a strong demand for trained sniffer dogs even abroad, manual work is slow and therefore a number of trained dogs has been small. Training is based on dog’s individual abilities and cooperation with the trainer. Automatization of work phases enables a trainer to concentrate on working with the dog, which enhances training.
“The use of technology will improve i.e. sample management and documentation as well as tracking dog’s learning process, that is to say how many times same things are repeated until dog has learned. Digitizing the training phases improves research of training methods”, tells Susanna Paavilainen from Nose Academy.
In order to be able to train more dogs more efficiently in the future, RFID technology has been implemented to test track located at the training centre. Technology will speed-up, empower and automatize dog training. Choosing RFID technology to digitalize the training process was an easy decision, as it was already familiar technology.
The solution by FENTEC Group | Toptunniste helps in training dogs to detect a certain scent from the number of samples. Besides corona, also cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, drugs or similar, can be detected. The NFC (Near Field Communication) readers in the test track, identify NFC tags, which are attached in the scent samples. A tablet application is used for reading the results, which show where the detectable sample is located and how the dog is reacting to the scent sample. The trainer rewards the dog when the right sample is found. The application presents a summary of the test rounds and data about how the dog succeeded.
In the future, it is possible to save all information, such as trainer’s name, dog’s information, test samples and training results, into database. This enables tracking of each dog’s development and trainer’s performance.
The RFID-based test track will be developed further and expanded in training as well as in research. The results will advance product commercialization and selling services also abroad. The aim is to establish a test track also at the airport, where coronavirus testing is done.
RFID technology can be used in many equivalent solutions, where items or operator’s performance needs to be tracked.
Nose Academy Oy is an academic start-up company, who implements research about dog’s smell behaviour. Nose Academy has developed and productized smell robot, which is used in dog training. The aim is to commercialize also the RFID based test track.
Wise Nose – Smell detection Association in Finland, is specializing in the training of dogs for smell detection. Wise Nose maintains and promotes smell detection skills and organizes training and performances about the theme. Smell detection is an educational method, which trains dogs to detect the scent from all other scents from given samples.
Jussi-Pekka Koskinen, tel. +358 10 841 0339