Chieko Asakawa’s “AI Suitcase”


Chieko Asakawa’s “AI Suitcase”

Chieko Asakawa, a blind computer scientist, has achieved many great things in the world of accessibility research and innovation. Her voice browser software, which reads out website content, is used all over the world and has made it possible for many blind people to access information on the internet. Now, she is leading a team to develop a suitcase-shaped AI robot that can act as eyes and ears for the visually impaired.

The AI suitcase is able to recognise what’s going on around it and communicates this information to its owner by voice. The user just needs to tell the AI suitcase where they want to go, and then the suitcase will navigate the user to that destination.

The AI Suitcase will be equipped with two features in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The first is a social distance feature. If someone approaches the user within a radius of 1.5 to 2 metres on the road, the AI will guide the visually impaired person away from them. Secondly, the system can inform the user if other pedestrians around them are wearing masks. This feature allows the visually impaired person to decide which way to walk so as to avoid approaching people who are not wearing masks.

Chieko Asakawa is working on the development of this “AI suitcase” in the hope of giving visually impaired people around the world more freedom when in crowded areas or changing environments.


・blind computer scientist・・盲目のコンピュターサイエンティスト
・voice browser software・・ボイスブラウザソフトウェア
・suitcase-shaped AI robot・・スーツケース型のAIロボット
・visually impaired・・視覚障害者
・in response to・・〜に対応して
・the coronavirus pandemic・・コロナウイルスパンデミック

浅川千恵子  “AIスーツケース”





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