With an average cost in the United States, for example, around $ 16,000 per dog, not to mention the two years of training required to perfect these skills, animals are too expensive to afford on their own for the vast majority of people who need, and their availability through public health and other health care agencies is also limited. On the other hand, due to the work involved in training dogs, at the price you have to add the time factor. Therefore, in some places, there is a waiting list to receive a dog that can be between five and seven years old.
But what would happen if this assistance work could be done by an e-colleague who provided the same efficiency but at a fraction of the cost?
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have designed a biologically inspired robot that replicates the actions of the guide dogs. Users verbally order the robot to perform a task, and the robot responds when a laser pointer illuminates the location of the desired action.
For example, if a person needs to be searched for an object, the individual would ordinarily service the dog and then gesture with his hands toward the location. The service robot imitates the process. The difference for the user is that instead of gesturing with their hands they should aim with the laser pointer towards the desired article.
Using this technology, disabled users can achieve basic missions, although challenging for them, such as opening doors or drawers and accessing medications.
Charlie Kemp of the Department of Biomedical Engineering of Georgia Tech and Hai Nguyen worked closely with a team of trainers of this class of dogs to know in depth the organization of the orders and the degree of interaction required in the relationship between the individuals and guide dogs.
In the tests carried out, the robot inspired by dogs was able to replicate, with an impressive efficiency, 10 tasks and orders of which it teaches to its dogs the equipment of trainers adopted like reference.