Blind Runner to Compete in New York Marathon Using Groundbreaking Technology
A blind New York Marathon runner is relying on the use of groundbreaking technology to get him across the finish line rather than an aide, according to ITV.
Simon Wheatcroft, who's been legally blind since 17 due to a degenerative eye disease, will reportedly use a device that will alert him when he's too close to other runners and warn him about obstacles ahead.
The device is called Wayband. It's an armband that uses GPS and emits vibrations that will guide Wheatcroft right and left during the marathon. A second device, worn on his chest, will be responsible for warning him about obstructions in his path.
Wheatcroft opened up about the trial and error period he endured in preparing to run this 26.2-mile race without a human guide. He told ITV he encountered a number of issues along the way, including some injury.
"When you can't see where you're running you have to assume the environment is constant," he said. "That has seen me running into burnt-out cars that have been left in the middle of the pavement and injuring myself quite badly."
He's hopeful that in being the first blind person to complete the New York Marathon without a guide, he'll be able to help others and advance technology created to help the visually impaired. "I'm not doing these things just so I can be the first to do this and the first to do that, what I'm interested in is making sure this technology exists to help everybody," Wheatcroft told ITV.
He added that he's "excited, nervous and a little scared" for the big day, which kicks off early on November 5th, Wheatcroft anticipates that he'll be overwhelmed with emotion when he's through with the race.
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Video Courtesy: ODN News