The Saint Mary Academy Robotics Team known as S.M.A.R.T. recently won the state of Rhode Island competition proposing an innovative device to assist blind people – a pair of glasses with LIDAR sensors. They will now represent Rhode Island at the national competition. The winner will get a $20,000 prize to build a prototype and pursue a patent.
If the LiDAR glasses detect an object or change in elevation, a signal or voice (like a GPS) would be transmitted to an earpiece attached to the arm of the glasses. Additionally, the glasses would be charged by solar energy, much like calculators.
S.M.A.R.T. is made up of middle school students and their advisers from my alma mater – Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I think these kinds of programs that connect high school students with industry deserve tremendous recognition and support. It is still not “cool” to be into math and science, but these programs are addressing that.
After a little more research, it looks like this is part of Dean Kamen’s USFIRST program. Dean has done more to advance math and science in the US public schools over the past 10+ years than anyone. Dean went to WPI, but it was not a fit Go S.M.A.R.T.!!!!!!!!