Monday, February 21, 2011

Student robotics team in RI develops GPS glasses for blind people


EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Students at Bay View Academy have developed glasses fitted with GPS technology to help the blind and are hoping to win funding to get their prototype off the ground.

"We wanted to do something that would help people and we decided on blindness and we figured we'd create these glasses," said Bay View 7th Grader Jackie Capuano.

Capuano and the other members of the Bay View Smart Robotics Team were competing at the State House Sunday for a chance to win $20,000-dollars and to patent and prototype their glasses.

Bay View is up against more than seventy other schools and teams for the coveted Global Innovation Award, sponsored by The First Lego League .

Their glasses are specialized to talk to and warn the blind of any objects that may obstruct their path.

"It would use a light sensor called LIDAR, which is light detection and ranging to scan the area...if there was an object in front of the blind person's way it would alert the blind person," Capuano explained of how the glasses would work.

"The glasses would also have an earpiece attached to the arm that would send a signal to them if something were in their way," Bay View Teacher Linda Grasso said.

However, in order to reach their goal, they need help tallying votes for their innovation.

"We're vying for the R.I. votes…right now they keep jumping between first and second with a team out of New Jersey and we need the support," Gross urged.

Voting is open until March 4, and you can vote once a day until voting ends.