Robotics to guide the blind

The elderly roll around in a robotics wheelchair

Technology has the potential to improve the lives of the less fortunate and, according to PhysOrg, may even help blind people find their way around.

At the University of Southern California, a robotics system is currently being developed with the purpose of addressing the challenges faced by blind people and empowering them to become more independent, claims the news source.

"We wanted to build an effective system that would provide new opportunities for the visually impaired,” Gérard Medioni, a professor at the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems at USC Viterbi, told the news organization.

System users will wear a vest that is attached to simultaneous localization and mapping software. As the user moves throughout the environment, the SLAM program highlights structures blocking the person’s route and send signals to the vest. Motors situated at strategic locations on the garment will pulsate, telling the wearer to go either left or right depending ion what lies ahead.

Robotics can significantly improve the quality of life for people with physical impairments. According to CNet, a Girl Scout Troop recently developed a robotic prosthesis to help a little girl born without fingers on her right hand.

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