IBM to develop an AI suitcase for visually challenged people

Tech giant IBM is in partnership with four other companies to develop a prototype suitcase that will use AI to help guide visually impaired people. The company has collaborated with Alps Mitsubishi, Omron, Alpine, and Shimizu on the smart suitcase. The suitcase which is a robot, for now, was the idea of Chieko Asakawa, an IBM fellow, who herself has vision problems.

Asahi Shimbun, the suitcase will identify the best routes for its users by considering the location and mapping the data, according to a Japanese newspaper. The AI suitcase will also guide the users through voice and haptic feedback, transmitting vibrations on the suitcase handle. The robot can alert the users of approaching people and places nearby through the audio system.

This suitcase will also analyze data from video cameras and distance sensors to identify obstacles on the path of the user, stating The Next Web.

Chieko Asakawa came up with the idea on a business trip while she was pushing her suitcase, she told a Japanese newspaper.

The AI for this project will be developed by IBM, Omron will provide the image recognition and sensors, Alps Alpine will work on the haptic technology, Shimizu will work on the navigation system, and the automotive technology will be developed by Mitsubishi. This invention will surely help a lot of people to move around independently.

According to a global health study, the number of visually impaired people will rise to 115 million by 2050.

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