How Google and AI are helping blind athletes run solo
For guys like Thomas Panek, there’s no such thing as slowing down. CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, he’s a successful businessman, family man and athlete—a runner, to be specific. There’s one more thing too: He’s blind. Born with a genetic eye condition that eventually led to his total blindness as a young adult, Thomas has relied on cane or canine to guide him ever since. That is, until he teamed up with Google.
Navigating uncharted territory
Project Guideline—an android App—uses AI and android camera technology to track physical guidelines that have been mapped out on a given path. Here’s how it works: A runner attaches their phone around their waist with a Google-designed harness, and the phone signals audio cues. Those cues are then sent to ‘bone-conducting’ headphones that signal the runner when they veer away from their charted line or path. The further the runner strays away from the line, the louder the noise gets.
What’s equally impressive about the app—is that it doesn’t require an internet connection. Plus, it’s tested and proven to work—without interruption—in lightning and other harsh weather conditions.
Total freedom feels good
Google’s Project Guideline is more than just an app. It provides newfound freedom and empowerment unraveled in lines of binary code and countless scripts. It’s technology that gives those who are blind and visually impaired the total freedom to run, helping them achieve a new level of independence.