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FIRST team develops innovative training system for service dogs

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Thunder Down Under

FIRST Robotics Competition Team

FIRST ® Robotics Competition team “Thunder Down Under” from Sydney, Australia, believes in the power of STEM to change people’s lives for the better. They 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.


Their research found 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.

The team’s system uses three 180-degree cameras that detect markers used to identify the position and post of the dog and plays a loud clicking noise to indicate to the dog they have completed a task. The project was a Merit Recipient at the 2021 National iAwards and recognized by dog training experts as revolutionary for the field.

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