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Blind scientist develops AI-powered visually impaired suitcase.

Blind scientist develops AI-powered visually impaired suitcase.

TOKYO: The AI Luggage is a smart suitcase designed by a blind computer scientist to help the blind and visually impaired move around more quickly without the use of canes or guide dogs.

Chieko Asakawa, now 65, has been totally blind since a horrific accident left her only 14 years old. She is a director of the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo and a computer scientist, and she is real proof that people who are blind can overcome their impairment and do great things. But Asakawa, who has long had difficulty navigating strange and congested areas, came up with a solution to make it simpler for the blind to go around. In 2017, she was motivated by her own experiences to develop the concept of a smart bag that could direct its owner using in-built sensors and cameras. The AI Suitcase is nearly ready for release to the market six years later.

“AI leads me as it takes the place of my missing sight. When her innovation initially made headlines across the globe in 2020, Asakawa remarked in an interview that it was a dream to be able to venture out on my own.

The AI Suitcase, which is small enough to be transported onboard planes as carry-on luggage, can arrange an efficient path to a place after the user inputs that location on their smartphone. The smart luggage then uses a variety of sensors and a precise GPS system that can pinpoint its location with an inaccuracy of less than 10 centimetres to assess its surroundings and avoid colliding with other travellers and roadblocks.

The AI Suitcase provides input to the user via haptic sensors in the handle as well as an integrated conversational component. The most recent version of the smart suitcase has huge, solid wheels and a powerful engine that can handle outside situations as well, in contrast to early versions that had small wheels best suited for indoor use.

Until February 6th, anyone who is blind or visually handicapped can test the inventive apparatus in front of the Miraikan Museum. The AI Suitcase will soon be rented at airports, malls, and train stations, according to Asakawa and the businesses that have supported her work over the past few years (IBM, Omron, ALPS Alpine, etc.). Other cutting-edge technology for the blind has also been shown, such as these AI-powered walking shoes.