Zack with the DogPhone developed by his owner, Dr Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas

Whether it is a silent stare or simply a rousing bark, dogs have found myriad ways to communicate with humans. Now researchers have created a hi-tech option for canines left home alone: a ball that allows them to call their owners on the old dog and bone.

The device – nicknamed the DogPhone – is a soft ball that, when moved, sends a signal to a laptop that launches a video call, and the sound of a ringing telephone.

The owner can choose whether to take the call, and when to hang up, while they can also place a call to their pet – although the dog has to move the ball to pick up.

“All this [existing] technology allows you to measure your pets’ steps or ring your pets or remotely give your dog food, but your dog doesn’t really have any choices,” said Dr Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, of the University of Glasgow, and first author of the research used to create the device.

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