The first thing I thought, seeing this project which turns an iRobot Create into a robotic cane for the blind, is that it’s a prime example of “inappropriate” technology. If you’ve ever seen a blind person use a cane, you can tell it’s this incredibly sensitive and nimble feeler, an extension of the person’s arm and their “touch sensors.” So the idea of putting a slow, relatively dumb robot on the end of that “feeler” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. But nonetheless, this is a really cool, ambitious build, with a lot of interesting tech at work, such as the design for the speed detection system (the cane slides along a rail on top of the Create and a slide potentiometer reads the speed of the cane’s movement and changes the speed of the bot accordingly). Not sure about the application as designed, but who knows where it could lead? The idea of a “smart cane” certainly has legs (so to speak).

This was any entry in the Instrucatbles iRobot Create Challenge. The contest deadline was Sept 9, but the winners have not yet been announced.

eyeRobot – The Robotic White Cane – Link

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.

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