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Japan Creates a Robotic Guide Dog for the Blind

8 November 2011 No Comment

Now human beings shouldn’t be the only ones worried about robots taking our jobs. Noble guide dogs may have to watch out for these robo-dogs being developed to be assistance dogs for the blind. Robot parts manufacturer NSK has been working on this robot since 2005 and with each model they move closer to their goal. Below is a video showing a side by side comparison of the 2nd prototype vs the 3rd and current prototype.

As you can see the current prototype is a huge improvement over the previous in terms of speed. They also added a Kinect sensor which the robot uses to detect stairs and other obstacles. To avoid crashes it also has bump sensors on each foot. A voice recognition system allow the bot to respond to commands such as start, stop and move up and down stairs.

The company has plans to make this robo-dog commercially available by 2020. But clearly they have a long way to go before anyone would ever think of replacing their warm blooded guide dog with a machine. A guide dog’s job is an extremely complicated one which requires years of training to prepare puppies that were hand-picked for their exceptional talents. How long will it be until a robot will be able to fill those shoes?

via Plastic Pals

Dayne Barton
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