When blind or vision-impaired people compete in races, they usually have to be tethered to a human guide or a guide dog to help them run the course. In the near future, however, these same runners could compete independently thanks to a new artificial intelligence system from Google called Project Guideline.
As reported by Engadget, runners could use the system by attaching an Android phone to a Google-designed harness that goes around their waist. A Project Guideline app then uses the phone’s camera to track a guideline of the course and sends audio cues to the runner’s headphones when they veer off course. For instance, if the runner veers away from the line to the left, the sound will go off in only the left ear. With each step away from the line, the sound increases in volume.
Another great aspect of the Project Guideline system is that it doesn’t require an internet connection to work, and it can account for a number of lighting and weather conditions.
Project Guideline isn’t the only system that Google has rolled out to help assist blind and vision-impaired people to get around. Detailed spoken walking directions in Google Maps are helping the blind move more freely around town, while Google’s Lookout app can give users an audio cue if there’s a possible obstacle in their path.