September 1, 2017 / 3:46 PM / 22 days ago

'Smart vest' turns stray dogs into Thailand's street guardians

BANGKOK (Reuters) - An advertising agency in Thailand has developed a “smart vest” that potentially could turn stray dogs into guardians of Bangkok’s streets and alleyways.

Equipped with a hidden video camera, the vest has sensors that transmit live streaming videos when the dog barks, showing what the dog sees via a mobile phone and computer application.

There are stray dogs on the streets of most Thai cities and the developer thought smart vests could help both the dogs and the community.

“It will make people feel that stray dogs can become night-watches for the communities,” said Pakornkrit Khantaprap, 28, who is on the creative team that came up with the idea at the Cheil advertising agency, a subsidiary of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics.

A dog is seen wearing a 'smart vest' which has a hidden video camera inside in a dog trainning centre in Bangkok, Thailand August 31, 2017. Picture taken August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Juarawee Kittisilpa

Martin Turner, managing director of the Phuket-based Soi Dog Foundation, which was formed over a decade ago to save stray dogs and cats across Thailand, welcomed the initiative.

Turner says there are many cases of cruelty against animals in Thailand, despite the introduction of the country’s first Animal Welfare Law in late 2014, which penalizes wrongdoers with a maximum two years’ imprisonment and a 40,000 baht ($1,205) fine.

Dogs are seen wearing 'smart vests' which have a hidden video camera inside in a dog trainning centre in Bangkok, Thailand August 31, 2017. Picture taken August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Juarawee Kittisilpa

The project began in March this year and took about five months to materialize.

The developer says a lot more tests are needed before the vest can be introduced into communities for trial runs.

($1 = 33.1700 baht)

Reporting by Juarawee Kittisilpa; Writing by Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Susan Fenton

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