Thursday, February 20, 2014

Robot Aids For the Blind?

A few days ago I was watching a business program on TV.

During the course of the program there was some talk of Google buying several robotics companies around Boston, Mass. Much of the talk was about how one of the companies in  particular modelled many of its mobile robots on animals.

There was quite an amazing video of a large robot galloping along a sidewalk.

I got to thinking, what if Google and these robotics companies got to create an artificial guide dog.?

A heavily constructed robot with some sensory equipment to track traffic and analyse  obstructions could replace dogs the size of Labradors and Golden Retrievers.

An artificial guide dog could be programmed to follow a planned route on Google maps. It wouldn't require feeding, just plug it into a power outlet at night to charge batteries. There would be no poop  clear-up routine to follow. It would possibly obey eevery command you might request.

But would it be as fun. A real guide dog keeps you company after work too. It is warm and soft to stroke. It has little foibles which give it real character, and it is often a real magnet for women!

Would I choose a robot over my Labrador? No. After three and a half months together, he has found a way deep into my heart, where I doubt any machine could ever go.

It may be nice to have a choice for those who for whatever reason don't choose to use a dog. But for this dog user, dogs come first, and blow the GPS. I'll trust in my mental maps.

The robot in this video, on YouTube is a military robot called Big Dog. But I could see it used as a guide dog someday. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Thoughts of a Guide Dog by Leif

It is the evening  of Sunday February 2, 2014.

I am in the Dog House, erm office.

Dad says I was a naughty pup and ordered me out. I am tried and convicted without due course.

My friends, this was my side of the story.

Dad and Mum, were watching something called a Superbowl on television. Some men running after a ball, I think. Sounds fun and wish they'd let me do that. But I digress.

Dad had asked for dinner to be Hot Dogs and Saukraut. He said something about the Bears not being around but no harm eating in memory of the Bears, anyway.

Mum served up some stuff. Smelled great and looked like a nice version of my Gonut toy. But smelled really good. So I got closer and closer to dad. Well of course so as to gain the full benefit of my great sniffer I opened my mouth and some of dads Gonut thing just happened to fall between my teeth.

I pulled away in shock and a piece of the gonut thing broke off. This really shocked me as my rubber gonut never breaks, as hard as I try to bite it.

Dad's gonut tasted really strange  but nice.

So there we are eye to eye over dad's gonut. Each of us with  our respective mouths around opposite ends. Of course he doesn;t see me, just feels the tug of my teeth and the cold of my nose on his fingers. Er.  Drat. I'm for it now!

In a flash he shouted at me to drop his hot dog. So that was a hot dog? I thought. A human gonut.

Anyway. Here I am now banished to my bed in the office. Alone and fully convicted of a misunderstanding.

Leif the Guide Dog.

Read "Thoughts of a Guide Dog : 2" Here

 Come see me with the stars on  Thoughts of a Guide Dog 3