Thomas Panek, a blind man who is also the CEO of Guiding Eyes For The Blind, used a new app to run a 5K (3.1 miles) through Central Park last week, as he was participating in the New York Road Runners “Run for Thanks” virtual race, Canadian Running Magazine has reported.
With the help of Google Research, Panek also helped create the app, which is called Project Guideline. While it’s not yet available to the public, they’re aiming to release it soon. The app uses phone cameras to monitor routes, so visually impaired runners are alerted when they need to change course.
“Can technology help a blind runner navigate?” That’s what Thomas Panek, CEO of @GuidingEyes, asked during a 2019 hackathon. He worked with Google Research to create Project Guideline, which helps people run independently using machine learning ? https://t.co/JujxIAt6y0 pic.twitter.com/YkW14V83nw
— Google (@Google) November 19, 2020
In an article Panek published on Google’s blog, The Keyword, he stated that his organization “work[s] tirelessly to help people with vision loss receive running guide dogs that can help them live more active and independent lives,” but that “The problem is that there are millions more people with vision loss than there are available guide dogs. So I started asking a question: ‘Would it be possible to help guide a blind runner, independently?'”
Here’s the video of Panek’s Central Park run last week:
“I can hear the line in my ear, it’s like a beacon, like a lighthouse.”
This blind runner worked with Google to develop an app that lets him run without the help of humans or guide dogs ? pic.twitter.com/OihL20O7Qp
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) November 20, 2020