US: Draper Laboratory, a not-for-profit research and development lab based in Cambridge, has partnered up with researchers at Alabama-based Auburn University to design a new navigation device that includes cameras, sensors, GPS and concepts from artificial intelligence and robotics. Draper’s invention hinges on two cameras that assess how much distance has been covered by the vehicle or person they’re attached to. In a process called visual odometry, its technology draws directional and distance information from the camera images. Then it maps the detected objects in a given environment.
The team at Auburn, led by Prof. David Bevly of the Department of Mechanical Engineering is integrating the cameras and algorithms into a device that draws additional information from accelerometers, wireless communication devices and GPS satellites and translates that information into tactile cues. The team is also exploring the potential of incorporating a way to detect signals from dedicated short-range communication devices that would give the user information from the transportation infrastructure.