collaborative robots help researchers see a better future for the blind

in robots in education by Sue Sokoloski

It’s been said that technology can create class divides, but M. Bernardine Dias, founder of the TechBridgeWorld research group at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, sees technology playing a more uniting role. Dias’ vision is evident in TechBridgeWorld’s latest research project, a program that explores how collaborative robots can help the blind navigate urban environments.

In collaboration with the blind community in Pittsburgh, the researchers are exploring ways that the Baxter Research Robot can enable those with impaired vision to accomplish tasks that are easily taken for granted, such as distinguishing between two colors of bus tickets or understanding directions through physical gestures.

Eventually, the researchers would like to create a mobile robot that helps blind people find Baxters located throughout the city. The goals of the program? To provide visually impaired people with the ability to be more independent, and to expand the opportunities for human-robot interaction to the blind community.

Are you using a Baxter robot in your facility? We want to hear your story. Tell us about it in the Rethink Robotics Video Challenge for a chance to put your research in the spotlight and win a Baxter robot.



About the Author

Sue Sokoloski

Sue has spent the last two decades marketing for emerging technologies, building new categories, and applying science to the art of marketing. It took one look at Baxter to sign on to Rethink Robotics – a human-safe robot out to change the world. When not promoting “all things Sawyer and Baxter”, she is focused on “all things food”: where to eat it, how to prepare it, how to write another cookbook about it.

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