While a dog with flesh and bones remains the preferred choice for the blind, they may soon be changing it for the robotic version after Japanese developer NSK unveiled its latest "robo dog" that will help guide the blind.
The robo dog makes use of Microsoft Xbox Kinect's image and distance sensor to create a 3D visualization map of obstacles and helps the blind to navigate ahead. The robo dog's legs are fitted with wheels, allowing it to roll ahead when on flat surface.
However when it encounters an obstacle, such as stairs, it maps the image using Kinect's sensors and determines the height and width of each step.
It then makes use of the joints in the legs to place each foot forward at a time, with a synthetic female voice letting the operator know what the robo dog is doing.