Mar 26, 2021

AI-equipped backpack allows the blind to walk in public without dogs or cane

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, robotics/AI, transportation

A team of researchers at the University of Georgia has created a backpack equipped with AI gear aimed at replacing guide dogs and canes for the blind. Intel has published a News Byte describing the new technology on their Newsroom page.

Technology to help get around in public has been improving in recent years, thanks mostly to smartphone apps. But such apps, the team notes, are not sufficient given the technology available. To make a better assistance system, the group designed an AI system that could be placed in a backpack and worn by a to give them much better clues about their environment.

The backpack holds a smart AI system running on a laptop, and is fitted with OAK-D cameras (which, in addition to providing obstacle information, can also provide ) hidden in a vest and also in a waist pack. The cameras run Intel’s Movidius VPU and are programmed using the OpenVINO toolkit. The waist pack also holds batteries for the system. The AI system was trained to recognize objects a sighted pedestrian would see when walking around in a town or city, such as cars, bicycles, other pedestrians or even overhanging tree limbs.

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