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What do robots and dogs have in common?

March 18, 2024

The paw-tential to change lives!

It almost sounds like something from a Sci-Fi movie, but Guide Dog Handler Santi is embarking on a research study into robotic Guide Dogs!

Santi is an accomplished entrepreneur, United Nations panelist, TedX speaker, and a passionate accessibility advocate who draws on his lived experience to help others.

He is also an Electrical Engineering Honours student at the Queensland University of Technology, where the robot— affectionately known as ‘Spot’—forms part of his thesis.

“We’re definitely not trying to replace Guide Dogs,” Santi explained.

Santi and Trey

“Dogs are amazing. You can’t replace the things they bring—the companionship and the friendship they provide outside their ability to help us move around is immense, and I would be the first one to say I could not give up my Guide Dog, Trey.

While ‘Spot’, the robot, could never replace Santi’s Guide Dog Trey, Santi’s research could help increase accessibility options for others in the future.

“We see a robot being useful for people who might not have the ability to look after an animal, but still want the mobility benefits that a Guide Dog provides.

“A robot could also be used in extremely hot or cold conditions where it’s not suitable to take your dog out, or when you’re travelling overseas.”

While working robot Guide Dogs are still years away from being a reality, we’re excited to see how Santi’s research progresses and the impact his work has to transform lives in the future.


International Guide Dog Day 2024

Anywhere you can go, Guide Dogs can go too.