VIDEO SHOWS: PRESIDENT AND CEO FOR GUIDING EYES FOR THE BLIND, 50, THOMAS PANEK, RUNNING 5K IN CENTRAL PARK / INTERVIEW / GOOGLE VIDEO WITH GUIDELINE TECHNOLOGY / INTERVIEW WITH GOOGLE RESEARCH MACHINE LEARNING RESEARCHER, 30, XUAN YANG.
RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SHOT LIST AND SCRIPT.
SHOWS: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (NOVEMBER 19, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. VARIOUS OF RESIDENT AND CEO FOR GUIDING EYES FOR THE BLIND THOMAS PANEK, 50, TAKING OFF FOR 5K RUN IN CENTRAL PARK
2. PANEK RUNNING ALONG YELLOW LINE FOR, WITH HEADPHONES AND SMART PHONE ON BELT TO USE GOOGLE'S "GUIDELINE" PROGRAM
3. VARIOUS OF SMARTPHONE ON PANEK'S BELT
4. PANEK WITH GUIDE DOG
5. PANEK WITH MEDAL / FACE MASK
6. MEDIA / PANEK
7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT AND CEO FOR GUIDING EYES FOR THE BLIND THOMAS PANEK, 50, SAYING:
"I'm a runner, and I did stop running for a long time, for a lot of years because I was afraid to run, I was afraid I was going to run into something. I was running the Chicago Marathon with partial vision. I ran right into a post and I said, that's it, I'm not running anymore. And I kind of gave up on it. And I didn't know there was the option of having a human guide out there. And so for about a decade, 10 years in my 30s, 40s, I really didn't didn't run."
8. VARIOUS OF PANEK STRETCHING, EXPLAINING (NOT A SOUNDBITE) GUIDELINE PROGRAM, SAYING (ENGLISH) "I CAN HEAR THE LINE IN MY EAR. IT'S LIKE A BEACON, LIKE A LIGHTHOUSE. / I CAN HEAR IT NOW TELLING ME, GO BACK TO THE RIGHT. IT'S LIKE A SOUND TUNNEL, IF YOU CAN IMAGINE. / IF I TURN OFF THE LINE, STOP, STOP, STOP. A HUMAN VOICE COMES INTO MY EARS TELLING ME THAT I NEED TO IMMEDIATELY STOP BECAUSE IT'S LOST THE ABILITY TO SEE."
9. VARIOUS OF PANEK JUMPING IN PLACE
10. VARIOUS CLOSES OF SMART PHONE AND BELT FOR GUIDELINE PROGRAM
11. CLOSE OF EAR PIECE
12. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT AND CEO FOR GUIDING EYES FOR THE BLIND THOMAS PANEK, 50, SAYING:
"We humans are born to run, as they say, right? So working with Google and Creative Lab and the whole team, we started small. We started trying to see if I could just walk a taped line and have the phone, kind of tell me where to go. And from that concept, from the idea, we decided that we were going to give it a shot. And then we were all stuck in our homes, looking at each other, thinking, what are we going to do? So in a way, it gave us an opportunity to really step back and say we want to solve this problem. So the Google team went to work, software engineers went to work and we came up with this Guideline concept together to be able to help people who are blind, run independently and, you know, to be able to be in Central Park. Hey, buddy. [BENDS OVER TO PET DOG] To be able to be in Central Park, to be able to be here, it's real emotional."
13. VARIOUS OF PANEK RUNNING
14. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GOOGLE RESEARCH MACHINE LEARNING RESEARCHER XUAN YANG, 30, SAYING:
"Thinking of like teaching a kid how to learn where the line is, so we are basically teaching the machine to recognize the line from the camera, the images taken by the camera. Yeah. So the way we did that is we basically collect a lot of images, which is the line printed in various locations are put on different locations. And then we feed all those images to the machine learning model and then we train those machine learning model with a lot of advanced technology, machine learning technologies to train the model, be able to segment the line in the image and from that segmentation results, we can predict the line, position and orientation."
UNKNOWN LOCATION (FILE) (GOOGLE LABS - NO ARCHIVE / NO RESALE)
15. VARIOUS OF MAN WITH SMARTPHONE ON BELT FOR GUIDELINE TECHNOLOGY
16. GOOGLE EMPLOYEE EXPLAINING USE OF MACHINE LEARNING ALGORITHM
17. GRAPHIC SHOWING HOW THE RUNNER IS GUIDED ON DIRECTION TO MOVE IN
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (NOVEMBER 19, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
18. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GOOGLE RESEARCH MACHINE LEARNING RESEARCHER XUAN YANG, 30, SAYING:
"We are very excited that we can actually deploy this technology onto a small, like mobile phone. I think this is gonna be more accessible to a lot of people in the world. We had this very powerful machine learning model ends up being this small pixel phone we have here."
19. PANEK RUNNING BY
20. PANEK WITH DOG, IN FRONT OF MEDIA
21. VARIOUS OF PANEK WITH GUIDE DOG
22. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT AND CEO FOR GUIDING EYES FOR THE BLIND THOMAS PANEK, 50, SAYING:
"We can accomplish anything we put our minds to and to be able to be out there just with this simple technology and a headphone, running by myself. Not people pointing, saying, 'oh, there's that blind guy over there and running.' 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. We all want to fit in. We all want to be just like anybody else. And today, you know, just being out there with other runners in Central Park, other New Yorkers that are out here trying to stay healthy through the pandemic, it was just a feeling of belonging."
23. PANEK CROSSING FINISH LINE / EMBRACING DOG
24. CLOSE OF MEDAL
25. MORE OF PANEK WITH GUIDE DOG
STORY: A blind man completed a 5K run in New York's Central Park on Thursday (November 19) without the help of any human or guide dog.
Thomas Panek is the 50-year old CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an accredited school for training guide dogs to assist the blind and vision-impaired.
After years of either sitting out physical activity or leaning on guides as a result of his own blindness, Panek decided a year ago it was time to try and find a way to run solo.
So he turned to Google to see if there was a way for a phone to "tell me where to go," as he told Reuters in an interview.
The end-result of Google's work is an early-phase research program it calls, "Guideline." All that's needed to run the program is a smartphone and a pair of headphones; the utility in practice looks as if a runner is simply listening to music.
Panek successfully tried out the program on the chilly fall afternoon in an event co-sponsored by Google and the New York Road Runners Club.
"The Google team went to work, software engineers went to work and we came up with this 'Guideline' concept together to be able to help people who are blind, run independently and, you know, to be able to be in Central Park," Panek told Reuters after completing his run. "To be able to be here, it's real emotional."
Through the AI process known as "machine learning," the program uses a library of images to guide a runner on his course. "Guideline" operates on smartphones like any app and directs audio directions to the runner via an earpiece.
The phone's camera starts by picking up a "guideline," or a painted line, to work from. The app is then able to detect the runner's positioning and provide directions.
According to Google researcher, Xuan Yang, the program is "like teaching a kid how to learn where the line is," as she told Reuters. And thanks to its catalogue of images, the program is able to "predict the line, position and orientation" before giving directional cues.
For Panek, an aid that circumvents human and canine helpers became all the more useful once the pandemic began.
Indeed, the pandemic, "gave us an opportunity to really step back and say we want to solve this problem," he said.
Google is hopeful "Guideline" will be used in myriad activities far beyond running once it hits the market.
For Panek, the satisfaction is not just about completing daily tasks.
"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," he said.
(Production by: Hussein al Waaile, Andrew Hofstetter and Dan Fastenberg)