A group of kids on a robotics team in Norman are using their skills to help blind dogs. With infrared lights as a sensor, they attached the device onto a dog’s harness to help her see.
Panda is the first dog they’re testing the device on. She is a 14-month-old Great Dane that’s blind in both eyes.
Matthew Lewis, 12, said, “We put the device on her and when she walks up to something, a tree or a garbage can, it beeps and then she should know to turn away.”
The Timberwolves First Lego League Robotics Team is made up of five children, ages nine to fifteen. They want to give blind dogs an alternative way of seeing the world.
The project started in September and has quickly progressed.
The oldest, Zachariah Armstrong, said, “We’re still working on it now. I hope this collar really helps Panda and possibly many other dogs.”
Through trial and error, the group is testing for bugs and still working to perfect the device.
Indoors, the device works up to three feet of distance, but outside is still in the testing phase. According to 13-year-old Joshua Armstrong, “The sun contains the same sort of infrared spectrum that we’re using so it interferes.”
For the most part, Panda’s owner, Kristy Jack, says it works well. “She’s a lot happier. She isn’t running into things the way that she used to.” Kristy is thankful for these five bright students who are using their smarts and their heart to help blind dogs like Panda.
Moriah Armstrong,11, and her sister Rachel Armstrong, 9, are also a big part of the team.
Moriah said, “It makes me sad to see that she can’t be like other dogs and play and do what dogs like to do so I’m very glad that we can help her.”
With this device, the Timberwolves scored first place in the First Lego League qualifying round. They are heading to the FLL State Championship on December 10 in Tulsa.
For more information on their project, click here to visit their website.