WAG’D: Wearable Activity and Gait Detection for Canine Athletes

A wearable computer that utilizes an ESP32 microcontroller, 6 DoF IMU, and strain gauge to measure and characterize canine athlete gait and pulling during athletic training and competitions.

Additional Info

Sled dogs have performed vital services to mankind throughout his-
tory, transporting people, goods, mail, food, and medicines. Today, sled dog teams still provide transportation as well as sport, such as
the famous Iditarod race. Studies show that of the 38% of dogs that drop out of long-distance sled races, 51% drop due to orthopedic
injuries. Sled dog mushers have limited ways of quantifying their
dog’s health while training and racing, mostly relying on visual
observation. According to Iditarod mushers and veterinarians, the
easiest way to detect injuries in sled dogs is through analysis of pull
force and gait. We created a Wearable Activity and Gait Detection
(WAG’D) monitor in an effort to identify early signs of gait and pull
force changes, with the intent of reducing the number of injuries in
sled dog racing. We sought to identify requirements for a wearable
sled dog monitor and build a high-fidelity prototype to demonstrate
proof-of-concept. The WAG’D monitor may also prove useful for
other canine athletes, such as those who participate in Canicross
or Bikejoring. A gait detection monitor may also have important
applications for veterinarians for lameness detection. We evaluated the prototype’s functionality and received feedback through semi-
structured interviews with 5 Canicross athletes and 2 Bikejorers in Georgia USA as well one Iditarod musher in Alaska USA. We have
demonstrated the feasibility of the WAG’D wearable computing
device which can collect inertial and pull force data in-situ during
field studies.






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