[nfbwatlk] Interesting technology

Mary Ellen gabias at telus.net
Thu Nov 17 01:07:39 CST 2011

There's certainly the question of speed.  Just think, though, about how
clean the floors will be in buildings blind people frequent.  Grin!

I'm not opposed in principle to some sort of electronic guide apparatus.
After all, the Blind Driver Challenge is predicated on the notion of using
modern technology to provide blind people with complex environmental
information in real time and at a distance.  This particular device just
strikes me as incredibly ineffective.  .   

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of PUBLIC RADIO 113
Sent: November 12, 2011 1:22 PM
To: nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org
Subject: [nfbwatlk] Interesting technology

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

Copied from Instructables:

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.


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.

Paul Van Dyck



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