MIT researchers have developed a ‘virtual guide dog’

The visually impaired could soon have a new device to help them navigate more easily, thanks to research conducted at MIT and sponsored by a foundation started by blind international opera star Andrea Bocelli.

The researchers developed a low-power chip to process 3-D camera data that they hope will become part of a “complete navigation system’’ for the visually impaired, according to MIT News.

“There was some prior work on this type of system, but the problem was that the systems were too bulky, because they require tons of different processing,’’ says Dongsuk Jeon, who was a postdoc at MIT when the research was conducted and is now on the faculty of South Korea’s Seoul National University.

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The prototype presented earlier this week is about the size of a binoculars case and is designed to be worn around someone’s neck.

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