Artificial intelligence helps train guide dogs for the blind

NBC News
Created: October 18, 2019 12:10 PM

(NBC News) The world population of the blind is expected to triple by 2050.  

To meet the growing need for guide dogs the University of North Carolina, Guiding Eyes for the Blind and IBM have teamed up to find the best candidates through the use of artificial intelligence.


Each guide dog taking part in the research has a sensor on their collar that's collecting data, including how the dog is moving, the temperature of the surroundings and the frequency of the noises the dog makes.

That data is collected on an app and analyzed by IBM's Watson supercomputer using machine learning.

"Our aim is to get as much quantified and objective information as possible," says Professor Alper Bozkurt.

Researchers also developed a vest with heart rate monitors and other sensors to assess temperament.

As they gather more data, algorithms can determine the best predictors of success

"Our ultimate goal is to optimize resources, especially the cost of the process," Bozkurt says.

Training can cost upwards of $50,000 per dog.


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