Students at National Star College would gain independence through AI technology

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The interactive fridge allows students to see inside without opening the door using the command “tell me what’s in my fridge”

A new $6.2 million facility should be opened at the College for Disabled Students. sterling residential building equipped with the latest technology.

The accommodation at the National Star College will act as a ‘smart home’ and feature voice-controlled technology.

This will allow students to tailor artificial intelligence (AI) to their personal needs.

It will later be opened by disabled campaigners Jack Thorne and Rachel Mason.

The college, based in Ullenwood, near Cheltenham, provides education and therapy for young people with a range of disabilities and hopes the technology will give them more independence and prepare them for life after college.

Building a Brighter Future is a single-storey building with 13 bedrooms, each equipped with overhead tracking lifts and a range of AI features such as a voice-activated fridge.

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Jaspar Tomlinson can control the devices in his apartment using his electronic communicator

“We’re trying to give students the opportunity to explore this technology in a safe college environment,” said Maizie Morgan, assistive technology technician at National Star College.

“The idea is that prospective and current students will be able to use this technology, see what’s out there in the world, and eventually, hopefully, apply it to their rooms and transition out of college,” she added.

Principal Simon Welch said the technology had been tailored to meet the individual needs of pupils.

“We understand when it comes to young people and their disability and what is really their priority.”

“The technology is not necessarily very innovative, but the way we work with the individual is,” he added.

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The apartments are designed for students to live independently and explore which technologies can benefit them

Student Jaspar Tomlinson was given the opportunity to test the software before the launch.

He is non-verbal, but can send commands to smart devices using his eyes to control his electronic communicator.

Devices and appliances in the rooms can then be controlled with a single action word.

“I think it’s great because it helps me gain confidence as I go through college,” he said.

National Star deputy chief executive Peter Horne said: “This new accommodation will improve the lives of young people with complex physical and learning disabilities, creating stimulating spaces to live, learn and relax.”

Godfrey Kemp

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