Robotic guide dogs

By Science Focus, 2020

A student at Loughborough University has designed a “robotic guide dog” that will help support visually impaired people who are unable to house a real animal.

The product, designed by Anthony Camu, replicates the functions of a guide dog as well as programming quick and safe routes to destinations using real-time data.

Theia, named after the titan goddess of sight, is a portable and concealable handheld device that guides users through outdoor environments and large indoor spaces with very little input.

Using a special control moment gyroscope (CMG), Theia moves users’ hands and physically “leads” them – much like holding the brace of a guide dog.

The device is designed to process real-time online data, such as traffic density (pedestrians and cars) and weather, to guide users accurately and safely to their destinations.

It will have a fail-safe procedure for high-risk scenarios, such as crossing busy roads – pushing the user back into a “manual mode”, similar to using a cane.

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