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Build The Future Spotlight: Team Thunder Down Under

Making Accessibility More Accessible

Program: FIRST Robotics Competition
Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 

 

Team 3132 believes in the power of STEM to change people’s lives for the better. We recently developed Training Unleashed, a positive reinforcement training system for dogs that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of service dog training to make them more accessible to people who need them. According to our research, 50,000 people in Australia would benefit from a service dog but only 200-300 are available annually due to a lack of qualified trainers and funding. Training Unleashed aims to solve this problem by reinforcing traditional dog training methods with computer vision and artificial intelligence technology. Our system uses three 180-degree cameras that detect ArUco markers used to detect the position and post of the dog. When the dog reaches the desired position, our system will play a loud clicking noise, indicating to the dog that they have completed the task successfully. This project was a Merit Recipient at the 2021 National iAwards and the founder of Miracle Assistance Dogs said our program will “revolutionize dog training.”

Several of our students are also passionate about positively impacting the lives of people living with disabilities: they have created the apps “Talk to the Hand – Learn Auslan” to teach sign language to children and “Talk to the Hand – My Bucket’s Full” to help people with sensory processing disorders. They are also working on a glove device that translates sign language into text.

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