Caption: AI suitcase -- Designed in a collaboration between Carnegie Mellon University, IBM and a number of other Japanese companies, this smart suitcase is designed to help visually impaired people navigate public spaces. Using cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence, it maps its surrounding area. Photo by Masashi Kurahashi/IBM
That's the challenge faced by Chieko Asakawa, a computer scientist and IBM researcher. Asakawa splits her time between the US and Japan, making the journey monthly. If traveling unaccompanied she has to be escorted by airport staff at both ends of the flight, which sometimes involves waiting and denies her autonomy.