According to foreign media new atlas, guide dogs play an important role as a mobile aid for the visually impaired, but they are not the perfect solution for everyone. Costs, smaller living areas, and even allergies mean that these dogs are not suitable for many people, but a technology being developed at Loughborough University in the UK offers another possibility of guiding the function of a guide dog into a robotic device you can hold in your hand.
the device, called Theia, was conceived by industrial design student Anthony Camu, who was inspired by virtual reality game machines and autonomous vehicles. The technology is still in the prototype stage, and there are still some problems to be solved, but the basic premise is that Theia can be used as a machine guide dog to help visually impaired users navigate to their destinations.
the key to this is the so-called control moment gyroscope, which is usually used as part of spacecraft attitude control systems, including those used on the international space station. This allows Theia to provide force feedback based on its direction and move the user’s hand to guide the user in the desired direction.
Theia will find its way through the lidar and camera system, enabling it to create three-dimensional images of the environment, just like an autopilot. Users can input the destination through voice commands, and the on-board processor will determine the best path, and even consider the real-time data of pedestrians and cars as well as weather conditions.
there is still some work to be done before the equipment can provide this function. The current prototypes are prone to excessive vibration and motor damage. But Camu hopes that with further development, he will be able to overcome these run in periods and even allow thea to cope with more complex environments such as elevators, stairs and crosswalks.
“the goal of many visually impaired people is to be independent and lead a normal life, but unfortunately, many people who suffer from vision loss feel excluded from situations and activities that many people take for granted, such as socializing, shopping or going to restaurants.” Camu said. “This limitation is usually the fear and anxiety that results from a partial understanding of the surrounding environment. Theia can expand the comfort zone and possibilities for the blind, broaden their horizons, and allow them to think less about walking and more about what is waiting for them at the end of the route. “