By Isah Abdul-Azeez

Project Guideline uses AI to help blind runners run solo-TECH Central Nigeria

Google Research team in collaboration with Guiding Eyes for the Blind has recently launched an AI solution which is designed to help blind people run and navigate freely without relying on cane, a guide dog, or human guide. They call it “Project Guideline” 

The solution which utilizes computer vision is designed to also give audio signals to guide its users and can be used on mobile phones without an internet connection.  

How it works 

The phone’s camera is positioned around the waist in such a way that it searches for guidelines present on a pedestrian path. It then sends audio signals to a bone-conducting headphone to guide a user depending on his position on the line. If he drifts right of the line, the audio signal would get louder in his right ear and vice versa. 

Images used to train project guideline 
Photo Credit: Google 

The Guideline app has been designed to detect guidelines in different environments; it takes into account variables in weather conditions.  

Thomas Panek, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Guiding Eyes for the Blind  

While sharing his experience with the application said his stride got more confident and longer with every step. 

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“I’d been waiting 25 years to run outdoors, on my own. I stood at the start of the guideline, hopping up and down with excitement. 

“When the team gave me the go-ahead, I began sprinting on my toes, as fast as my legs could carry me, down the hill and around a gentle bend in the road. As I tightened my form, my stride was getting more confident and longer with every step. I felt free, like I was effortlessly running through the clouds,” Panek said. 

The project will still be further tested to see how the system works in different urban regions, just before it is widely used. 

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