Virtual guide dog prototype created in UK

Virtual guide dog prototype created in UK


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Natalia Solovieva | 08/05/2020

Virtual guide dog prototype created in UK

Anthony Camu, a student at the Faculty of Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough University, UK, created a prototype of an autonomous robotic
a device based on IoT technology that can replace a guide dog for visually impaired people. A compact gadget that fits in the hand like a dog leash will plot the desired route and
will lead the owner along it, taking into account all potential dangers on the way.

Details on the progress of the project are posted on the page official site
Loughborough University
… Today, the number of visually impaired people worldwide has exceeded 253 million, the university reports. However, only a small part of them have the opportunity to use a guide dog.
them. For the rest, it is unavailable for many reasons, including the exorbitant costs of keeping the animal, compact living conditions or allergies. It’s for them the student inventor
Anthony Kamu, focusing on the principles of operation of virtual reality game consoles and autonomous vehicles, has developed a concept and has already created a prototype of a device called Theia
(Theia).

Theia is a portable gadget that can reproduce all the functions of a guide dog, helping owners to complete complex maneuvers without having to see obstacles or think about their safety.
It is equipped with lidar technologies (a method for obtaining and processing information about distant objects using active optical systems that use the phenomena of absorption and scattering of light), cameras,
creating a three-dimensional image of the space surrounding the user, as well as a navigation system, an analogue of which is usually used as part of space traffic control systems
devices. Theia’s onboard processors will determine the optimal path to a given destination and divide the route into separate parts, which the user will be informed about by voice and sound.
teams. In addition, Theia completely mimics the behavior of a guide dog. For example, if a person deviates from the desired route, the hand will feel the “leash pull” in the desired direction.

The main feature of the new gadget is the use of a minimum amount of input data.

“To use Theia, the user only has to say, for example, ‘Hey Theia, take me to Cabot Circus! Like a self-driving car, Theia will program routes
to reach their final destinations, avoiding accidents along the way, ”explains the inventor Anthony Camu.

Using the technology of the Internet of Things, Theia will process the data available on the Web in real time, such as the density of pedestrian and car traffic, weather. it
will guide the user to their destination with high accuracy, bypass all obstacles on the way, and also help him navigate successfully and safely in areas such as an elevator, stairs, entrance
to a store, a crosswalk and so on.

It is also anticipated that Theia will be equipped with a failover procedure for high risk scenarios. For example, when crossing busy intersections. Once the user
approaches such a dangerous place, Theia will warn him by pushing his hand back a little, and will switch to “manual” mode, which simulates the use of a cane for the blind and visually impaired. Such
the function will keep the user with a high level of awareness and control in situations where it is most needed.

According to Anthony Camu, using his invention, people with visual impairments will be able to move along routes at the same pace as ordinary people, or even faster, do it safely and
efficiently, without the hassle and hassle of visualizing the environment.

The Theia robotic guide dog project is still in its infancy. The developers will have to fix problems such as excessive vibration and frequent engine breakdown. However
Kamu himself is going to develop the project, create some more prototypes together with design engineers and programmers. It is possible, he believes that for these purposes will be created
startup and launched a crowdfunding campaign.

“The goal of many blind people is independence. Unfortunately, many of them feel excluded from everyday life, and cannot do all those things that sighted people consider themselves to be.
socializing, shopping, or dining out for granted. Such restrictions are usually formed due to fear associated with partial perception of the surrounding reality. Theia is capable
to expand the boundaries of a blind person, his horizons, give him the opportunity to think less about walking and more about what awaits him at the end of the route, ”the creator of the gadget comments. – “I hope that
people will be able to see the positive effects that Theia can have on the visually impaired community. ”

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