And you thought those self-driving whips in DARPA's Urban Challenge were hot stuff. As the mighty Hokies look to prove their dominance in the field of engineering, a student team from Virginia Tech has assembled what amounts to a vehicle that can actually be driven by blind individuals. In short, the specially equipped dirt buggy is outfitted with an array of laser range finders, an instant voice command interface and a few other related systems that enable drivers to respond to whatever the vehicle "sees." Best of all, the project is far beyond the drawing board, with a blind driver (Wes Majerus) already singing praises about the vehicle and deeming it a "liberating" experience. Regrettably, there's no information on what the team plans to do with the vehicle going forward, but we do know it hopes to pass along the same technology to more street-legal motorcars.

[Thanks, Trisha]

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