Mygo – an electronic seeing-eye dog and its areas of use
For visually-impaired people, mobility means stress – they are forced to memorize routes and explore their environments through their sense of hearing. In many situations, for example, during storms, in rain or snow, if it is noisy, or if they are ill, orientation becomes more difficult or even impossible.
Seeing-eye dogs guide visually-impaired persons through their environments in dynamic movements; however, even with a dog the person must know the routes very well. The person is the navigator, the dog the pilot. Since seeing-eye dogs are expensive and require a lot of care, few people can afford one. In addition, in urban environments seeing-eye dogs cannot act as reliable guides for more than two hours at a time.
In cooperation with several blind people, a concept was created for a device that in addition to featuring the characteristics of a seeing-eye dog offers options that an animal cannot. Mygo is an autonomous system that is not intended to complement but rather to replace seeing-eye dogs. In dynamic movements the electronic seeing-eye dog guides the user around static and moving hurdles. Its location is updated continuously and it is equipped with an innovative optical sensor that facilitates real-time detection of situations.
In view of the fact that seeing-eye dogs cost up to 40,000 euros and lose concentration in urban settings after two hours, with its estimated price tag of 10,000 euros and an operation time of six hours, Mygo is a sensible alternative to an animal. If equipped with a fuel cell for added energy supply – a technology that will be up and running in the near future – Mygo can run up to 40 hours.