i3 - November/December 2016 - 31

more of a mobility company," says Doug
Moore, manager of the partner robotics
group at the Toyota Research Institute.
In 2011 Project BLAID was charged
with taking existing robotics technology
and adapting it for the blind and vision
impaired community. But through
involvement with the LightHouse
for the Blind and Visually Impaired
advocacy organization in 2012, it was
determined that developing a robot
assistant would be wrong for this community. Instead, Moore says his team
concluded that the task was "about
trying to provide information for the
user in their space."
Real differences between robots and
blind people were at the root of the
change. A robot knows nothing intrinsically and must be taught and enabled
to move and interpret what it sees. It
is slow and heavy for a blind person
to tote around town. By contrast, "a
blind person is amazingly functional"
and "can move as fast as anybody else,"
Moore explains. "We need to think
about making this a wearable device
and filling in the gaps of things that
currently aren't happening."
The result: a wearable with environmental awareness that fills the
utility space between a cane or a guide
dog and a smartphone with GPS - a
necklace-like device that can identify
a building feature such as an exit sign,
a stairway or a door from afar, and
process the image to guide the user.
It leverages the same computer vision

SIMON BRUTY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

TO THE MOON
Audi is looking to take its Quattro all-wheel-drive technology
and e-tron electrical drive
system the farthest off-road it
possibly can - all the way to
the moon.
The automaker is assisting
Part Time Scientists GmbH
(PTScientists), a Berlin-based
engineering group that is the
only German team entered in
Google's Lunar XPRIZE contest,
which aims to have a competitive set of rovers launched to
C TA . t e c h / i 3

BMW Designworks' racing wheelchair

technology used in a vehicle's pedestrian detection or road sign recognition
system, merging a camera and a processor running an algorithm that works
with "a limited subset of images that
are important for the blind and visually
impaired community."
Project BLAID is in the research and
prototyping phase, and there is not
a timeline for its commercialization,
Moore says.
On the other hand, BMW Group's
Designworks has completed major
projects for physically disabled

the moon by the end of next
year, all vying for a grand prize of
$30 million. That bounty will be
awarded to the first team whose
rover lands at a target site just
north of the moon's equator,
drives at least three-tenths of
a mile (500 meters) to get near
the landing site of NASA's Apollo
17 spacecraft, and then shoots
and transmits high-resolution
pictures and videos of Apollo 17
back to Earth.
"The requirements of a car are
not that much different," Becker

people: the professional athletes of
Team USA who competed in the 2016
Summer Paralympics, held in Rio de
Janeiro. One project was designing
a racing wheelchair for both sprint
and marathon competitors in track
and field. "These athletes are equally
superior to regular Olympians. They
just happen to have disabilities, so
they need a bit of extra equipment to
allow them to compete," explains Brad
Cratthiola, associate director of BMW
Designworks.
The work began with an aerodynamic

explains, noting that the upper
temperature range for testing
car electronics is 125 degrees
Celsius, "the highest you will
find in any industry." Making
lightweight but strong parts
inexpensively is a strong suit
for any automaker, he adds. So,
among the advantages Audi has
brought to PTScientists are 3D
printing of aluminum parts (such
as suspension components and
wheels), inexpensive stereo
vision cameras and crash testing
facilities (to account for crush-

able parts when the rover lands
on the moon).
Of course, there's the contribution of Audi's Quattro and
e-tron to get the rover moving. This technology sharing
between Audi and PTScientists must succeed in the final
frontier to be deemed a success
at home. "Making the mission
successful includes more than
driving 500 meters," Becker
says. "We are Germans and
don't build stuff that falls apart
after 500 meters."
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016

31


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - November/December 2016

Contents
i3 - November/December 2016 - Cover1
i3 - November/December 2016 - Cover2
i3 - November/December 2016 - Contents
i3 - November/December 2016 - 2
i3 - November/December 2016 - 3
i3 - November/December 2016 - 4
i3 - November/December 2016 - 5
i3 - November/December 2016 - 6
i3 - November/December 2016 - 7
i3 - November/December 2016 - 8
i3 - November/December 2016 - 9
i3 - November/December 2016 - 10
i3 - November/December 2016 - 11
i3 - November/December 2016 - 12
i3 - November/December 2016 - 13
i3 - November/December 2016 - 14
i3 - November/December 2016 - 15
i3 - November/December 2016 - 16
i3 - November/December 2016 - 17
i3 - November/December 2016 - 18
i3 - November/December 2016 - 19
i3 - November/December 2016 - 20
i3 - November/December 2016 - 21
i3 - November/December 2016 - 22
i3 - November/December 2016 - 23
i3 - November/December 2016 - 24
i3 - November/December 2016 - 25
i3 - November/December 2016 - 26
i3 - November/December 2016 - 27
i3 - November/December 2016 - 28
i3 - November/December 2016 - 29
i3 - November/December 2016 - 30
i3 - November/December 2016 - 31
i3 - November/December 2016 - 32
i3 - November/December 2016 - 33
i3 - November/December 2016 - 34
i3 - November/December 2016 - 35
i3 - November/December 2016 - 36
i3 - November/December 2016 - 37
i3 - November/December 2016 - 38
i3 - November/December 2016 - 39
i3 - November/December 2016 - 40
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i3 - November/December 2016 - Cover3
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