[nfbwatlk] Interesting technology

Jedi loneblindjedi at samobile.net
Sat Nov 12 15:59:16 CST 2011


The idea is interesting enough. I'd rather be attached to the robot by 
some other means than a stick. Maybe a bluetooth handheld that the user 
can use to interface with the machine as a way of sending and receiving 
information? I could see it potentially being useful in a grocery 
store; but wouldn't it be nice of the unit had information on where 
products are stored and lead you right to them?

But as a general travel aid, I wouldn't recommend it for several 
reasons. The battery issue is one. Plus, artificial intelligences 
aren't yet equipped to handle complex environments, so they are likely 
to give bad information. Besides that, the robot can't go downstairs or 
handle outdoor surfaces. Not to mention the fact that poor weather 
could cause problems.

No, I'd rather use a cane. It does the same thing and allows me to use 
it wherever and however I see fit; I can exercise my own intelligence 
to know where to go. The sad part is that the product ultimately says 
that a blind person is less able to navigate that a semi-intelligent 
robot. Nice.

Respectfully,
Jedi

Original message:
> My sister, Julie sent this my direction.  I appreciate her comment at the
> end.  What are your thoughts?

> Copied from Instructables:

> Abstract:
> Using the iRobot Roomba Create, I have prototyped a device called
> eyeRobot. It will guide blind and visually impaired users through
> cluttered and populated environments by using the Roomba as a base to
> marry the simplicity of the traditional white cane with the instincts
> of a seeing-eye dog. The user indicates his/her desired motion by
> intuitively pushing on and twisting the handle. The robot takes this
> information and finds a clear path down a hallway or across a room,
> using sonar to steer the user in a suitable direction around static
> and dynamic obstacles. The user then follows behind the robot as it
> guides the user in the desired direction by the noticeable force felt
> through the handle. This robotic option requires little training: push
> to go, pull to stop, twist to turn. The foresight the rangefinders
> provide is similar to a seeing eye dog, and is a considerable
> advantage over the constant trial and error that marks the use of the
> white cane. Yet eyeRobot still provides a much cheaper alternative
> than guide dogs, which cost over $12,000 and are useful for only 5
> years, while the prototype was built for well under $400. It is also a
> relatively simple machine, requiring a few inexpensive sensors,
> various potentiometers, some hardware, and of course, a Roomba Create.

> http://www.instructables.com/id/eyeRobot---The-Robotic-White-Cane/

> and then your battery goes dead in an hour and you need your cane or
> dog to find your way out. but its a neat idea.
> Julie

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