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Researchers Develop A Robotic Guide Dog To Assist Blind Individuals by Ingrid Fadelli

Guide dogs, dogs that are trained to help humans move through their environments, have played a critical role in society for many decades. 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, the skills from one dog cannot be transferred to another one. This makes training guide dogs both time consuming and labor intensive, and the process not being easily scalable. On the contrary, the algorithms developed on one robotic guide dog can be easily deployed to another robot.”

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