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European £1bn IT programme to study three-legged dogs

European £1bn IT programme to study three-legged dogs

Project to study their balance and running style

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A £1 billion European Union IT research fund will contribute to a study on the behaviour of three-legged dogs, it has been revealed.

The fund will support extensive studies into how three-legged dogs move. There is a particular focus on how the dogs balance and function, given their missing limb.

"After limb loss, a reorganisation of the locomotive system is required," observed lead researcher Martin Gross, from studies so far at the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena in Germany.

The three-legged dogs are analysed running on treadmills, using 10 high-speed infrared cameras and markers on the dogs' skin. Researchers follow the movement of separate parts of the body and record the trajectory of the movements.

The dogs were found to encounter more difficulties dealing with a missing front leg than a missing back leg, because of the distribution of their body weight.

The idea behind the research, called Locomorph, is to develop advanced robots that can help animals and even humans cope with function after the loss of a limb.

Other research to receive cash from the EU fund will encompass next generation network and service infrastructures, electronic and photonic components and digital content technologies.

The funding is part of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Around 16,000 participants from research organisations, universities and industry will receive FP7 funding for projects following a call for proposals.

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