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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Researchers develop a robotic guide dog to assist blind individuals | Robotics - Tech Xplore

Guide dogs, dogs that are trained to help humans move through their environments, have played a critical role in society for many decades, explains Ingrid Fadelli, Journalist. 

Photo: Hybrid Robotics Group, UC Berkeley.

These highly trained animals, in fact, have proved to be valuable assistants for visually impaired individuals, allowing them to safely navigate indoor and outdoor environments. 

Researchers at the University of California Berkeley's Hybrid Robotics Group have recently created a quadrupedal robot with a leash that could take on the role of a guide dog. This robot, presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv, can help humans to safely navigate indoor environments without crashing into objects, walls and other obstacles.

"A well-behaved guide dog usually needs to be selected and trained individually," Zhongyu Li, a researcher at UC Berkeley's Hybrid Robotics Group who carried out the study, told TechXplore...

In addition to creating the new robotic guide dog, Li and his colleagues developed a hybrid physical human-robot interaction model that describes the dynamic relationships between the robotic dog and a human user during operation. Using this model, the researchers then developed a reactive planner that can switch between taut and slack leash modes to guide human users most effectively in confined spaces.

Read more... 

Additional resources.  

Robotic guide dog: leading a human with leash-guided hybrid physical interaction. arXiv:2103.14300 [cs.RO]. 

Source: Tech Xplore