Student team wins award for smart dog harness at Cornell Cup USA
A student team, including four ECE ILLINOIS students, that invented a harness for working dogs has won the People's Choice Award at the recent Cornell Cup USA competition.
The Illinois SmartCollar team won the $1,000 for the award. Those who attended the annual competition voted for the winner.
The Illinois team was among the 34 finalists for the annual competition. Team members included Brian Chien, Shugo Tanaka, Gabriel Hruskovec, and Anarghya Mitra, all undergraduate students in ECE ILLINOIS, as well as MechSE student Logan Wan, and dog trainer Eva Alvarez, a student in animal sciences. Team mentors were ECE Engineering Teaching Lab Specialist Daniel J Block and Aadeel Akhtar, an MD/PhD neuroscience student.
SmartCollar is a harness for dogs employed the military, law enforcement agencies, and search-and-rescue teams. It uses the Intel Quark-powered Galileo board with sensors such as GPS and IMU to determine the dog’s current position and status.
The dog is able to communicate with its handler by assuming a particular state (sitting down, for example) in order to notify him or her about something of interest in the field. Onboard speakers attached to the device allow the handler to communicate directly with the animal, to give orders for continued searching or to return.
Communication between the dog and the handler is handled via an Android application, which uses a map overlay to inform the handler of the location of all dogs wearing the SmartCollar currently on the field.
SmartCollar harnesses the enhanced senses dogs possess with the latest of today’s wearable technology to create a unique system that allows them much more autonomy in the field. It also paves the way for a new way of communication between dogs and their handlers.
Cornell Cup USA, presented by Intel, is a college-level embedded design competition created to empower student teams to become the inventors of the newest innovative applications of embedded technology. The third annual competition was held at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on May 1-3.