Engineers manage to create a robot guide dog capable of helping blind people to move safely through different environments.
Guide dogs are fundamental in our society helping all those people with visual disabilities or even others with mobility problems so that they can lead a normal life, and all these dogs previously have to be selected and trained individually.
The training of guide dogs is not cheap, and it requires a lot of labor time, a process that in many cases makes this type of animal unattainable to people who really need them. Now thanks to advances in robotics, they have been able to create the first autonomous robot guide dog who could assume, at least temporarily, this responsibility to guide blind people.
A team of researchers from the University of California has manufactured a robot in the shape of a dog to guide the visually impaired, even the machine is capable of traversing difficult and narrow obstacles. As you can see in the images, the robot dog surely sounds like you have seen it on previous occasions, and it is that they have used a modification of the famous robot dog Mini Cheetah created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
This robot It is equipped with a laser ranging system to create an accurate map of its surroundings and a camera to track the human that is guiding you.
According to its creators, this guide dog can be updated in real time, automatically downloading the different updates to be increasingly more efficient in knowing its owner more over time.
“Using a robot guide dog we can directly implement our code from one robot to another. As time passes and hardware becomes more affordable, we can use this type of dog to help and serve any human being ”, he pointed out. Zhongyu Li, project leader to the New Scientist medium.
But there is still a lot of work to be done, since the machine is not ready to go out on the street, but at the moment it is demonstrating its ability to guide the owner through different obstacles within a closed environment. The video shows the robot being able to carry three blindfolded people around an obstacle course under very narrow sections.
If anything, these robot guide dogs they will never be able to achieve the authenticity of a dog of flesh and blood since there would not be “that deep bond that makes the relationship unique and much more than a way to move safely,” he adds. Tim stafford, from the UK charity, Guide Dogs.