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CMU Researcher Designs Suitcase, App to Help the Blind at Airports


Wheeling the BBeep through an airport.

A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Tokyo, and Japan's Waseda University has developed a combined suitcase/smartphone app to help the vision-impaired navigate airports more independently.

Credit: triblive.com

Chieko Asakawa of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), who is blind, is investigating the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for assisting visually impaired people in everyday tasks.

Asakawa’s newest project aims to help the blind navigate airports with greater independence.

Through a partnership with Pittsburgh International Airport, a team of researchers from CMU, the University of Tokyo, and Japan's Waseda University has developed a combined suitcase/smartphone app designed by for this purpose.

The rolling "BBeep" suitcase alerts users to obstacles, helping blind users navigate airport crowds.

The suitcase employs a camera to track pedestrians in the user's path to anticipate potential collisions, warning users and others in close proximity to stop or move aside.

BBeep's NavCog app, co-developed by CMU and IBM, uses Bluetooth beacons modified for airport use.

From Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
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