We old time disc doggers tend to spend a lot of time looking back, yearning for a time when all was right with the world. Although our memories, like our brains, are a bit altered by the passage of time, our imaginations are largely intact. In that spirit, perhaps some of that remaining brain power might be channeled to a more useful exercise…imagining what the future holds for disc dogging.
The past 10 years have brought many changes. We’ve gone from one contest series to four or five, and we’ve gone from one canine disc to dozens of options. Perhaps most significantly, the advent of the internet has put a vast digital storehouse of disc dogging information just a few mouse clicks away to anyone who might wish to engage their canine in the art and craft of disc dogging. If you are reading this feature then you have discovered the center of the disc dogging universe. Just a few clicks away are the answers you seek, the knowledge you covet, and the path to disc dogging success.
Given the profound impact of the internet on canine disc sports, it seems only natural to look to the internet for clues to some of the technological advances we might see in the next few decades.
Are robot disc dogs in our future? You might think so after you watch this video.
Perhaps you’re “jonesing” for 3D goggles that would let you practice throwing to the virtual dog of your choice… all from the comfort of your living room couch. The goggles are already available and so is a canine disc video game. See it in action here. Now, with a bit of fancy programming, it won’t be long before the new disc dog virtual reality is more like what you enjoyed when you watched the new movie Avatar. Wouldn’t it be cool – for those of us who don’t throw so well — if we could upload our minds into the bodies of master disc dogging avatars who could actually throw a disc well? With our new-found abilities we would surely want to experience a virtual half-time show in a stadium packed with cheering fans.
OK, but let’s get back to reality for a second. There may still be real-live canines in our future and we will probably have to fling plastic to our own canines for at least another decade or so. Plastic? Perhaps the venerable plastic disc will go the way of the dinosaur from which it was created. With the world’s oil supply dwindling and under the control of folks we may not want to do business with, maybe our discs will see a materials revolution of sorts. High tech polymers made via non-petroleum means…hmmmmmm.
Will disc manufacturers of the future employ microscopic, high-strength, ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber nanotubes or buckyballs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fullerene) to make discs that are strong, lightweight and capable of changing colors electrically based on the whim of the thrower or the preferences of the canine? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could upload your own artwork via Bluetooth directly to your disc while it’s in flight! If, for example, your spouse on the sidelines senses that your canine is having difficulty spotting a disc in flight, he or she could press a panic button on an iPhone that would transmit a signal to your disc causing it to flash between light and dark colors to help your canine distinguish it from background clutter. Or, what about a disc that glows in the dark then changes color automatically depending upon the amount of sunlight it senses? Oh wait, that’s the Jawz Fuzzion and Hyperflite invented it five years ago.
What the next decade will bring for disc doggers is hard to say. But, if I were you, I would hang onto “Toto” because we’re not going to be in Kansas anymore!