There are approximately one million adults in the United States who have blindness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the Perkins School for the Blind, only an estimated 2 to 8% of blind adults use a white cane to navigate the world. The rest rely on a guide dog, or, most often, a sighted guide.
For many blind individuals, this means that it’s not possible to leave the house on their own, something those of us with the ability to see take for granted every day. Glidance, the winner of this year’s Pitchfire Competition at RoboBusiness, is using robotics to give more freedom to blind people.
Glide, the company’s flagship product, is a self-driving mobility aid for people with sight loss. Glide helps a person with sight loss get around with ease and confidence by guiding them to where they want to go using advanced autonomous guiding technologies and a novel mechanical design promoting a sense of agency and independence. Glide also uses haptic and audio feedback to help provide a safe walking experience for its users.
- AIVOT: AIVOT provides software for robotics to perform various open-ended tasks in unstructured environments. AIVOT learns new skills by following spoken instructions and observing human demos. The self-learning agent improves skills with feedback and experience and uses vision to perform the tasks. The end-to-end software stack can be deployed on any third-party hardware (robotic arms, AMRs, and humanoid form factors).
- Staxel: Staxel automates micro-fulfillment using robots and artificial intelligence, optimizing inventory management and fleet operations. Staxel uses a unique autonomous mobile robot design that can move along floors, vertically, and between shelves. Staxel said it will soon launch a fully automated darkstore with a 10x boost in operational efficiency.
- TRIC Robotics: TRIC Robotics is helping farmers control pests and diseases using ultraviolet light as an alternative to chemical pesticides. Ultraviolet light is a resistance and chemical-free solution that is more sustainable and effective than chemicals. The company’s solution is a tractor-scale robot that carries UV lights up and down the rows as a pest control service that replaces their existing pest control costs.
As part of their package of prizes and money for winning the competition, Miller will appear as a guest on an upcoming episode of The Robot Report Podcast. Stay tuned for that in-depth interview.