Saturday, July 18, 2009
Dirt buggy with laser equipment can be driven by blind
Oh boy. We're going to need one of these up at Ski for Light. After being regaled with driving stories by my blind friends, I know they're going to want one of these buggies ASAP.
As the mighty Hokies look to prove their dominance in the field of engineering, a student team from Virginia Tech has assembled what amounts to a vehicle that can actually be driven by blind individuals. In short, the specially equipped dirt buggy is outfitted with an array of laser range finders, an instant voice command interface and a few other related systems that enable drivers to respond to whatever the vehicle "sees." Best of all, the project is far beyond the drawing board, with a blind driver (Wes Majerus) already singing praises about the vehicle and deeming it a "liberating" experience.
[visual image: Two students sit in a small red, four wheeled buggy with a metal cage and off road tires, driving through orange cones for a test drive. ]