NEW YORK (Reuters) – A blind man completed a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) run in New York’s Central Park without a guide dog or human help this week. His navigation aid? Artificial intelligence through headphones plugged into a smartphone.
“The safest thing for a blind man is to sit still. I ain’t sitting still,” said Thomas Panek, 50, who lost his vision in his early 20s due to a genetic condition and runs Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a guide dog school.
The marathon enthusiast got tired of having to follow slower runners as a guide. So he decided a year ago to find a way to run solo.
He turned to Google to find a way for a phone to “tell me where to go,” said Panek, who believes “humans are born to run.”
He worked with the Alphabet Inc unit to create a research program. A smartphone camera picks up