Pratt Industrial Design Alumni Use Technology to Help Blind Athlete Run New York City Marathon
Blind runner Simon Wheatcroft ran the 2017 New York City Marathon on November 5 with the assistance of Wayband, a wearable haptic navigation device by designed by Pratt alumni Kevin Yoo BID ’15, Keith Kirkland MID ’15, and Yangyang Wang MID’15, of WearWorks. The armband device guides the wearer with patterns of short vibrations to help the runner stay within a 20-foot-wide virtual corridor and indicate turns, all without the need to rely on voice commands—a benefit in noisy environments like the marathon. Yoo ran the marathon as well, in support of Wheatcroft making history by running with the device.
The story was covered in a number of media outlets, including The New York Times, and the Wayband prototype enabled Wheatcroft to run much of the race with minimal human assistance.
Learn more in TheVerge.com’s in-depth feature on Wheatcroft and Wayband.
Image: Simon Wheatcroft (left) with Kevin Yoo (right) at the New York City Marathon (photo: courtesy of Kevin Yoo)