'Smart' walking stick could help visually impaired with groceries, finding a seat | CU Boulder Today

By Daniel Strain • Published: Jan. 19, 2023

Engineers at CU Boulder are tapping into advances in artificial intelligence to develop a new kind of walking stick for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Think of it as assistive technology meets Silicon Valley. 

The researchers say that their “smart” walking stick could one day help blind people navigate tasks in a world designed for sighted people—from shopping for a box of cereal at the grocery store to picking a private place to sit in a crowded cafeteria. 

“I really enjoy grocery shopping and spend a significant amount of time in the store,” said Shivendra Agrawal, a doctoral student in the Department of Computer Science. “A lot of people can’t do that, however, and it can be really restrictive. We think this is a solvable problem.”

In a study published in October, Agrawal and his colleagues in the Collaborative Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Lab got one step closer to solving it. 

The team’s walking stick resembles the white-and-red canes that you can buy at Walmart. But it also includes a few add-ons: Using [...]

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