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Blind man, 'born to run’, completes solo 5-km run with trial app to guide him

New York, November 21

A blind man accomplished a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) run in New York’s Central Park with no information canine or human assist this week. His navigation help?

Synthetic intelligence by way of headphones plugged right into a smartphone.

“The most secure factor for a blind man is to take a seat nonetheless. I ain’t sitting nonetheless,” mentioned Thomas Panek, 50, who misplaced his imaginative and prescient in his early 20s because of a genetic situation and runs Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a information canine college.

The marathon fanatic obtained bored with having to observe slower runners as a information. So he determined a 12 months in the past to discover a solution to run solo.

He turned to Google to discover a manner for a telephone to “inform me the place to go,” mentioned Panek, who believes “people are born to run.” He labored with the Alphabet Inc unit to create a analysis program. A smartphone digicam picks up a painted ‘guideline’ on a operating observe. An app detects the runner’s place and provides audio steerage by way of an earpiece.

“It is like educating a child study the place the road is,” mentioned Google researcher Xuan Yang.

Pandemic-related social distancing gave a lift to the analysis to bypass human and canine helpers.

“To have the ability to be right here, it is actual emotional,” Panek mentioned after his take a look at of the app on a cold fall afternoon, in an occasion sponsored by Google and the New York Street Runners Membership on Thursday.

“It is an actual feeling of not solely freedom and independence, but in addition, you recognize, you get that sense that you simply’re similar to anyone else.” Reuters

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