Guidance system for blind gets nod at UAE robotics award

Guidance system for blind gets nod at UAE robotics award
Participants showing B Motion a mind controlled electric wheelchair during the semi finals of The UAE AI and Robotics for Good Awards at Dubai Internet City on Friday.. Photo by Neeraj Murali.

Dubai - The prototype guidance system cost the team around Dhs4,000 to build but they are hoping it will go down to Dh1,500 to make it more affordable.



By Angel Tesorero

Published: Fri 5 Feb 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 7 Feb 2016, 7:25 AM

A gaming console re-purposed as a smart guidance system for the blind topped the semi-final round in the national category of the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good held at the Dubai Internet City on Friday.
The team which developed Al Murshid Al Thaki (Arabic phrase for Smart Guidance System for the Blind) scored 83.9 points out of possible 100 to vie for the Dh1 million grand prize in the national category of the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good launched by Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, last year.
Joining Al Murshid Al Thaki in the Final round are B-Motion which developed a prototype of a brain-controlled electric wheelchair and Re-act Robot Team which created a tactile robotic system that is capable of aiding patients with neural diseases such as strokes to regain their motor control function.
Talking to Khaleej Times, Monther Al Shehabi, member of Al Murshid Al Thaki, said: "Robotics is fun and as we've demonstrated, a popular gaming console can be developed to get more features which can be more helpful to the public - in particular for the blind"
"We used the Xbox Kinect for our project - we utilised its camera and IR (infrared) sensor - to help the blind avoid obstables in their surroundings," added Al Shehabi, an electrical engineering graduate from Ajman University.
The prototype guidance system cost the team around Dhs4,000 to build but they are hoping it will go down to Dh1,500 to make it more affordable.
Meanwhile, The B Motion team developed a Brain Controlled Electric Wheelchair, that employs non-invasive brain-computer interface based on electroencephalography (EEG) to detect user's thoughts, feelings, and expressions and accordingly issue appropriate commands to the electric wheelchair motor controller.
The robotic wheelchair is suited for quadriplegia patients, amputees and patients with spinal cord injuries who cannot control a conventional wheelchair with stick but have a completely conscious and functioning brain.
The Final of the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good will take place today at the Dubai Internet City.
angel@khaleejtimes.com


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