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Keeping the community safe is a priority at Western Power, that’s why our award-winning Keep Sparky Safe app is playing an important role in educating children about being safe around electrical equipment.

The app, which earned a national LearnX Gold Award in late 2022 in the Best Augmented Reality (AR) Industry Specific Training category, is designed for primary school students and is a great teaching resource as the new school year begins.

Keep Sparky Safe is an augmented reality mobile game featuring Sparky the Dog who helps students learn to identify common street level electrical equipment and when they are unsafe because of damage.

The app builds on learnings contained in the hilarious antics of Sparky the Dog in the children’s book Sparky and the Electrical Pillar.

Western Power Executive Manager Asset Management Gair Landsborough said safety for the community and employees was fundamental at Western Power.

“It’s important for the community – particularly children – to learn and identify the difference between safe and unsafe electrical assets,” he said.

Awarded in December 2022, the LearnX VR Industry Specific Training Award focuses on an industry specific training project that an enterprise implemented, using virtual reality (VR) technology solutions as an interactive/immersive training experience to skill/support talent development.

Used by WA schools, the free Sparky AR app has been downloaded more than 1500 times since its release and was developed with Perth-based Sentient Computing.

The app is also supported with a range of resources that are available on Western Power’s website that can be used in the classroom to teach students and introduce them to the world of STEM.

To play the game, young learners must take AR Sparky for a walk and more importantly, keep Sparky safe from the potential AR electrical hazards that are dispersed throughout the app environment.

The character of Sparky acts as a fun and engaging guide that helps young learners navigate their daily environments and the serious nature of electrical hazards. Sparky also ensures that the learner is actively discouraged from directly interacting with potentially dangerous electrical equipment through fun and engaging safety activities.

In each scenario, AR electrical equipment is randomly presented in a damaged (unsafe) and undamaged (safe) condition. The learner must decide which equipment is safe for Sparky to interact with, and which is unsafe so he must stay away.

The Sparky and the Electrical Pillar teachers guide included curriculum linked suggestions for classroom activities to the Sparky and the Electrical Pillar book.

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