heliguy™ has tested a prototype of a specialist dog camera, which has been designed for the police by our expert in-house research and development team.
The heliguy™ Canine Head Camera recently underwent a thorough examination when it was demonstrated in front of Durham Police, receiving positive feedback in the process.
Ideal for a range of missions, including house clearances, firearms operations and search and rescue, this ultra-light bespoke tool features a high-definition camera which is attached to the dog and rapidly transmits footage back to a 4K screen which can be worn and monitored by police officers.
The camera allows the handler to work behind the dog from a position of safety but still gain a picture of what is happening ahead. The search and footage can be viewed by the dog handler who can identify changes in the dog’s behaviour or the operational firearms commander.
The heliguy™ Canine Head Camera has been developed by our recently-launched R&D department HECTIC (Heliguy Electronics and Custom Technology Integration Centre), which is based at our North East England HQ and creates bespoke items and offers custom-built solutions for commercial and enterprise drone missions and other use cases.
The primary goal of HECTIC is to fine tune and fill in any gaps with additional drone engineering. But, where possible, we will also take advanced drone technology back into other sectors, where products could benefit from the advancements within the drone sector. The dog camera is a perfect example of this.
HECTIC is our new consultancy which aims to turn people’s exciting ideas into reality. This invaluable service will provide tailor-made products and hardware and software integrations.
In Focus: The heliguy™ Canine Head Camera
The heliguy™ Canine Head Camera is an important tool for police forces and security teams, allowing personnel to observe and analyse a situation from afar and obtain vital situational awareness in the process.
Using a HD camera and high bitrate data transfer, this technology allows the dog handler or firearms officer to see what the dog sees in uncompressed high definition with an incredibly low latency (1.5ms on average) to a range of up to 500metres (maximum tested unbroken LOS, up to 100m maximum tested BVLOS inside metal structure).
The soft helmet holds the camera steady in place without causing discomfort to the dog
The camera is mounted directly onto the dog’s head with two adjustable straps. The soft helmet holds the camera steady in place without causing discomfort to the dog.
A DJI TB50 battery pack is mounted to the dog's harness (included) which supports MOLLE pouches and lead attachments.
The rechargeable lithium polymer battery will give a continuous run-time of up to 12 hours and is easily charged in two hours in the charging station, which can power up to four batteries simultaneously.
Camera has a range of up to 500 metres
The camera, transmitter, power regulation and cooling fan are all built in to the ultra-light head-mounted module.
The power cable is long enough to allow full motion of the dog’s head without too much slack as to catch on protruding objects . It will also feature a robust quick-release connector.
The video receiver is placed inside a pouch that can be mounted onto the officer’s arm, tactical MOLLE vest or KlickFast connectors.
The receiver outputs the video via a HDMI connection which relays the video to a small HD screen which can be mounted to the lower arm of the officer.
Both the receiver and the screen are powered from a battery pack like the one on the dog. This battery provides up to seven hours of continuous run-time so can be mounted to the officer out of the way - such as the back or side - without needing to worry about battery changes.
'We would encourage others to use the dog cam'
heliguy™ recently met Durham Police's Dog Support Unit for a special demonstration of the Canine Head Camera.
"This product is a real time, low latency, wireless HD video transmission system which can be mounted onto medium to large dogs for the purpose of policing, building clearing, search and rescue and situational awareness for firearms teams," - Ross Embleton, Heliguy’s Research and Development Associate
The test took place at a warehouse in Durham and provided the chance to show off the equipment's capabilities.
While the product is currently a prototype, the police gave positive feedback.
Sergeant Dave Bell, Supervisor, Durham Police Dog Support Unit, said: "The camera is an excellent idea. We were impressed with the quality of the footage it produced and we would encourage others to consider the dog cam.
The camera allows the handler to work behind the dog from a position of safety but still gain a picture of what is happening ahead
"We would deploy the camera primarily to firearms deployments where the dog is required to search a building, open area or vehicle.
"The camera allows the handler to work behind the dog from a position of safety but still gain a picture of what is happening ahead. The search and footage can be viewed by the dog handler who can identify changes in the dog’s behaviour or the operational firearms commander.
"The proposed battery life of the dog cam was also impressive. Our current kit uses non-rechargeable batteries which don’t last long and require regular purchasing expense."
With the product in its infancy, Sgt Bell believes that additional tweaks could take the dog cam to another level.
He said: "There are still some development ideas which we believe would increase the value and we are happy to discuss these and work to provide a solution or further testing.
"One consideration for head-mounted kits is the stability of the images and the dogs tolerating the mounting/harness. We have previously had a head-mounted kit and found the back-mounted kit was easier for the dogs to tolerate."
We want your feedback
The dog cam tested with Durham Police was by no means a finished product. Indeed, a number of features to be added in the future include:
- The potential of having multiple receivers so that the dog handler and lead firearms officer can both see the video feed. This would also provide the option to transmit the video back to the command centre in real time if required.
- A HDMI video recorder which could record HDMI straight onto an SD card for evidence gathering and video review later on.
- A low light / night-vision version to increase the usable illumination range of the camera.
- Upgraded soft shell head harness which promotes comfort for the dog, yet ensures strength of the harness.
But to help us further develop and improve this product, heliguy™ is keen to receive input from other Forces.
- What features would you like to see?
- What would you gain from using this product?
- Do you have any specific requirements for your Force that other Forces may not have?
"We have designed this technology to work to the specific requirements of one Force, however, we want to make this product usable by the vast majority of Forces throughout the UK.
"This is your chance to tell us what you would like to get from using this product. We encourage you to answer the questions to help us design this product and future generations of it to be a robust, reliable tool for years to come."
Ross Embleton, Heliguy's Research & Development Associate
More about HECTIC
Using their many years of experience and expertise in the UAV industry, Heliguy's dedicated and knowledgeable technicians have launched HECTIC - an invaluable consultancy to provide tailor-made products and hardware and software integrations.
HECTIC comprises a highly-skilled team, capable of in-house manufacturing, 3D printing and extremely quick concept/prototype designs and visual representations, as well as the ability to meet clients’ needs within budget.
HECTIC already has a track record of helping clients in need and coming up with novel ideas to fix a problem. Solutions so far include integrating a hyperspectral camera with a DJI M600 Pro and mounting a Parrot Sequoia sensor onto a DJI Phantom 4.