IC4U ver.03 - Robot Guide Dog for Visually Impaired People
I decided that I wanted to develop IC4U’s AI abilities even more by adding naturalistic features so I decided to make IC4U3 the 3rd version of my robot guide dog.
I wanted to add a lidar to IC4U3 so that it would be able to 3D map its surroundings. In November 2021, I was invited to the World Summit AI as a panelist, where I met some students from TU Delft University. They invited IC4U2 and me to visit their robotic labs and meet their Professor Dr. Chris Verhoeven. I told him all about my robot and what I planned to do. He helped me understand that I didn’t need to add a lidar to IC4U3 as it would only cause unnecessary data overload. Instead of only recognizing objects coming in its direction, it would detect all objects in its environment. He suggested that it would be better that I make IC4U mimic a real dog.
Following his advice, I first added sound sensors as its ears so that IC4U3 would first hear a sound and turn its head to look in that direction to process the object. However, simply hearing the sound is insufficient, so I also included a ZED 2i Wide-Angle 3D AI Camera so that it could detect the object from a wider angle and detect the size and speed of the object more accurately and intelligently.
To power the ZED 2i camera and for higher-quality image processing I used an NVIDIA Jetson Nano. I was so impressed with the ZED 2i camera’s performance that I didn’t want to limit its use to a simple object recognition task. I started to think of additional ways IC4U could help a visually impaired person.
One of these features was an upgraded version of IC4U’s current city object detection. IC4U can not only detect traffic lights, stop signs, etc, but now IC4U can also detect and recognize the different colours of traffic lights.
IC4U now can help with shopping. A visually impaired person can show IC4U an item that they would like to buy. IC4U can tell them where to buy it, how much it costs, and if it is in stock by collecting data from various online retailers. I used web scraping. However, it will be much more effective if ic4u can connect to online retail store databases. Another feature for shopping is for IC4U3 to be able to detect money and the value of the banknote.
I also made it possible for IC4U3 to respond to “Okay IC4U” instead of “Okay Google.”