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Japan develops robot that could take the place of seeing-eye dogs for visually-impaired people

Workers at a hospital in Japan have demonstrated a new robot that could take the place of seeing-eye dogs for visually-impaired people. A private company in Japan developed the device, which is one meter tall and 50 centimeters wide. The user grips a handle and the robot’s voice leads the person in the right direction. A blindfolded hospital employee tested the robot in Atsugi City, near Tokyo. The device has pre- installed information about the facility. It includes where the walls or doors are located. The robot avoids these obstacles and guides the person safely through the area.

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The employee said he had been worried about the robot’s performance, but it guided him well. At present, the robot is used only in limited places about which it has pre-installed information. The company that developed the robot hopes it will help the thousands of people in Japan who need seeing-eye dogs. The robot will be used in restaurants and other places where dogs are not welcomed.

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