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AI Luggage for People with Visual Impairments Nets Rave Reviews

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Chieko Asakawa, inventor of the AI Suitcase, in Anaheim, CA, in March.

The artificial intelligence suitcase was conceived by Chieko Asakawa, a top engineer at IBM and currently director of the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, or Miraikan, in Tokyo, Japan.

Credit: Kyodo

Japanese researchers and companies have joined forces to develop an innovative guidance robot called the AI Suitcase to help blind or partially sighted travelers navigate their surroundings with ease.

The groundbreaking assistive technology recently underwent its first overseas public trial, garnering significant interest and sparking discussions about its future practical applications.

During the event in March at a hotel in Anaheim, California, the device's English voice from a smartphone declared, "System starts. Set destination."

Trial participant Hector Elias, a blind employee of a major U.S. financial institution, then grasped the handle of the small four-wheeled suitcase that would serve as his guide as he set off from a room on a guest floor of the hotel.

For the test, the development team set the destination as a guest room a few dozen meters away. By the time the suitcase becomes commercially available, they hope users will be able to operate it themselves from their own smartphones.

From The Japan Times
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