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Empowering visually-challenged runners through AI technology2 min read

December 9, 2020 2 min read


Empowering visually-challenged runners through AI technology2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In what could come as a big boon to the visually-challenged, a team from Google Research unveiled a new project that uses Artificial Intelligence to allow someone who is blind to follow a path without any assistance. The team worked with Thomas Panek, the CEO of an organisation called Guiding Eyes, on the venture, which is called Project Guideline.

With this technology, researchers hope there won’t be a need for seeing-eye dogs.

So how does this work, you ask? The technology the team developed comprises a smartphone, headphones and a guideline painted on the ground in order to enable a user to follow a fixed path. For this to work, a yellow line has to be pre-painted on the set path. The smartphone is fixed to the waist of the user, and its camera approximates his/her exact position. Audio feedback is then delivered to the user, via the headphones, to guide them.

However, while this project is promising, there are still some hurdles (literally!) that need to be crossed, such as weather conditions on a certain day, and any obstacles along the way. The trials have been promising, which, researchers say, could change the face of sports for the visually-challenged. Runners and joggers would benefit greatly from this, they say.

In the future, the hope is to adapt this technology to help those apart from athletes, so they can move about in ease and without the help of caretakers and seeing-eye dogs.

Owlivers Obscure Facts

Where did the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ come from?

John McCarthy. Photo: Wikipedia

One of the greatest innovators in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) was John McCarthy. He is widely considered the father of AI.
It was in the mid-1950s that McCarthy coined the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’, which he defined as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines”.

Sources:, India Today. Photos: Helping Hands, Wikipedia