Bangor High School senior science project advances to final round of competition

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 5:56 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A Bangor High School student has won $25 thousand dollars for his work on a fall detection system for seniors.

”That was surreal. I didn’t know I was going to be in the top 40. I thought it was going to be a pretty low chance.”

Bangor High School senior Vetri Vel is a top-40 finalist in the 2021 Regeneron Science Talent Search out of over 1,700 applicants. His project? A real-time fall detection system for seniors.

“I didn’t want it to be a wearable pendant. I just wanted it to be a wall mounted system that can monitor a space in real time. "

The device uses an inexpensive computer called a Raspberry Pi and a low resolution thermal sensor to look for fallen people.

“If it detects a few consecutive images where it thinks someone has fallen it can call for help.”

Vetri used an artificial intelligence technique called Deep Learning, training the computer what a fallen human looks like by using hundreds of test images, and teaching it to ignore false positives like pets.

“I could go down to about 150 training images without a significant drop in accuracy.”

Bangor High School STEM research coordinator Barbara Stewart says Vetri was self-propelled and worked hard on his project.

“I’m so glad that students continue to take advantages of opportunities. Bangor High School is a great place with a STEM academy to do this kind of research. We’re super proud of Vetri.”

“I think it’s a big honor and it comes with $25,000 which is a big help for college.”

Vetri plans to pursue a degree in physics, with a focus on computer science.

“Computers, how they work at a fundamental level, the level of circuits, and how they actually carry calculations.”

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