U.S. markets closed
  • S&P 500

    3,699.12
    +32.40 (+0.88%)
     
  • Dow 30

    30,218.26
    +248.74 (+0.83%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    12,464.23
    +87.05 (+0.70%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    1,892.45
    +43.75 (+2.37%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    46.09
    +0.45 (+0.99%)
     
  • Gold

    1,842.00
    +0.90 (+0.05%)
     
  • Silver

    24.32
    +0.18 (+0.76%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.2127
    -0.0022 (-0.18%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    0.9690
    +0.0490 (+5.33%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3438
    -0.0015 (-0.11%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    104.1400
    +0.2800 (+0.27%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    19,099.04
    +35.02 (+0.18%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    365.19
    -14.05 (-3.71%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    6,550.23
    +59.96 (+0.92%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    26,751.24
    -58.13 (-0.22%)
     

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

·1 min read

(Corrects headline to remove reference to 'marathon')

NEW YORK, Nov 20 (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 a painted 'guideline' on a running track. An app detects the runner's position and gives audio guidance through an earpiece.

"It's like teaching a kid how to learn where the line is," said Google researcher Xuan Yang.

Pandemic-related social distancing gave a boost to the research to circumvent human and canine helpers.

"To be able to be here, it's real emotional," Panek said after his test of the app on a chilly fall afternoon, in an event sponsored by Google and the New York Road Runners Club on Thursday.

"It's a real feeling of not only freedom and independence, but also, you know, you get that sense that you're just like anybody else." (Reporting by Reuters TV; Editing by Richard Chang and Rosalba O'Brien)