People who are blind or partially sighted may find it simpler to move around in their daily lives thanks to artificial intelligence and smart technologies. Engineers at the University of Colorado–Boulder are developing a “smart” walking stick that would assist the blind in doing daily chores like finding a seat and grocery shopping. The gadget combines “assistive technology meets Silicon Valley,” according to the study’s authors.
The walking stick first appears to be a typical cane that you can purchase online. However, if you look closely, you’ll see a number of improvements made with the aid of computer and camera technologies. The walking stick actively maps the immediate region using a camera and computer, and then employs vibrations in the handle to direct people to their desired location. Additionally, the cane has a voice assistant that can give instructions like “stretch a little bit to your right.”
Opening gates for other AI-integrated products
The smart cane may assist millions of Americans in becoming more independent, even if it is not intended to take the place of the duty of making public spaces handicap accessible.
AI and computer vision are developing, and they are being used to create self-driving vehicles and other innovations, but they also have the potential to significantly raise the standard of living for a large number of people.
How is it really a game changer
Imagine that you are in a café. You don’t want to choose any old chair. To protect your privacy, you often stay away from the walls, and you avoid sitting next to strangers if possible.
According to an earlier study, these straightforward choices put a lot of strain on a blind or visually impaired individual. To test if the smart walking stick may make the solution to this seated issue more straightforward, the study’s authors converted their facility into a temporary café. This required the addition of several chairs, customers, and a few barriers like signs that are often present in cafés.
It can help out with groceries
The expansion of the kinds of situations in which people could utilize a cane is another direction the study’s authors are headed. In an unpublished study, Agrawal, an AI researcher, and his co-authors had participants explore grocery shops for a certain item while using a cane. Once more, the facility was transformed into a temporary grocery shop with shelves loaded with various cereals. In the program, the authors built a database of product images, such as boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios or Apple Jacks to find the precise item the user was seeking, and the walking stick searched the shelves.
Although the innovation seems intriguing, it won’t be available to the general public for some time. The authors of the research intend to make certain adjustments, such as making it more streamlined and compact. Users might connect a basic smartphone rather than a large camera to the cane because of its compactness.
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