Theia: the new robotic guide dog
Today we know how much pets, especially cats and dogs, are important and mean the world to many people, not only because they are great company, but also because in some cases they facilitate life and support children and adults during their daily routine. Pet therapy, for example, is one of the most important activities that relies on horses and donkeys as well to give help, assistance and support to those who need it most.
Dogs are also used for search and rescue and can work together with the police, they are often trained to lead visually impaired and blind people.
Unfortunately, however, not all those who have vision impairments can live with a four-legged friend, partly for the cost, partly because a dog is a lifetime commitment, but also because it is necessary to have enough space in the house, not to mention who have allergies and not to mention the long and hard training that dogs have to face before being suitable for this kind of job.
Is there another valid alternative? Not yet, but a new technological device may soon be available to replace guide dogs. It is Theia, a portable robotic guide dog designed by British Anthony Camu, student of Industrial design and technology at the University of Loughborough, to facilitate the life of people who are forced to live with vision disability.
Although Theia is a prototype still under development and improvement, it will be a small robot equipped with a gyroscope and a system of sensors such as cameras and lidar that allow image recognition, motion tracking and greater depth vision that will be able to give a three-dimensional image of the surrounding environment. According to the many news released, the device will be equipped with GPS and the user will have the opportunity to enter its destination with voice commands.
In the future, blind people will be able to move in total autonomy and safety with an innovative portable device to be held simply and comfortably in their hand, the robot dog Theia.