Like many a dog owner, Spokane resident Brooke Martin, now 13, was worried about how her golden retriever, Kayla, reacted when left at home by herself. While searching for ideas, she came up with one that enabled her to maintain contact with Kayla even when she wasn’t at home. The result is iCUPooch, a device that combines video chat functionality with an automatic dog treat dispenser that can be activated remotely. Because of her invention, Martin is now a finalist, along with nine others, in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. The final competition takes place next month in St. Paul.
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What’s the Big Idea?
Separation anxiety in dogs can lead to damaged furniture, accidents on the carpet, and stressed-out owners. So far most of Martin’s tests have been done on Kayla and her new dog, Zoey, and she hopes to perform additional tests with the help of funding received through a Kickstarter campaign. In the meantime, as a competition finalist, she’s benefited from the help of 3M product development scientist Delony Langer-Anderson. Thanks to her advice, Martin is now testing different types of materials at a local dog shelter to see how they hold up against canine wear and tear.