Myles Lack-Zell and Andrew Todd Marcus

The Iditarod is a 1,000 mile dog sled race across Alaska during which the sled dog racers must go through mountain ranges, frozen rivers, tundra, and blizzards in temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit. During these races, the dogs that pull the racers’ sleds can get hurt or even die without the racers knowing what is happening to them. Sled dogs can get hypothermia because their owners do not know how cold the dogs are, and they can also die of exhaustion since they must pull their owners, a sled, and survival gear in such frigid conditions. I have designed a coat for the sled dogs that can warn their owners about the beginnings of hypothermia, and also tell them when the dog needs a rest. The main signs of early hypothermia are a slow pulse and a body temperature below 95 degrees, while the sign of exhaustion is slowed muscle contractions. Because of these signs, my dog coat has a temperature sensor that goes in the ear, attached by a clip and an Electromyography sensor (EMG) that goes on the front right leg of the dog. Because dogs have fur I was unable to find a way to measure the heartbeat, but there is a new dog collar that measures heartbeat using a patented technology which utilizes low frequency radio waves. The sensors are connected to an Arduino that has an LED light strip attached to it on the outside of the coat. If the dog’s body temperature drops to below 95 degrees, the light strip glows red, and if the muscle contractions become very slow, the lights glow blue. In the case that both the temperature and muscle contraction times are at a dangerous level, the light strip glows purple. If I had a working heart rate monitor, I would have made the lights glow green for a slow pulse, yellow for both slow pulse and low body temperature, turquoise for slow muscle contractions, and white for if all three of the sensors detected problems.