Even now, Wheatcroft remained torn. He had a wife and two young sons. A wrong step on a training run could lead to severe injury or worse. But he persevered. In a marathon, he felt the same as any other runner. And, as he chased the finish line, he also pursued technology that could help the blind and visually impaired lead more independent lives.
On his left arm, Wheatcroft wore a device that he helped develop with designers from a two-year-old Brooklyn company called WearWorks.
The company’s first product is a wristband — adapted as an armband for Wheatcroft — called a Wayband. It connects via Bluetooth with a smartphone and uses information from Google Maps, OpenStreetMap and proprietary technology to guide wearers to their destination by emitting patterns of vibrations instead of voice commands.
Pulses from the armband were designed to keep Wheatcroft running on Sunday within a virtual corridor, about 20 feet wide, and to help him turn right and left. Four short, rapid vibrations signaled that a left turn was ahead. Two longer vibrations signaled a right turn.
He also wore an ultrasonic sensor on his chest. Two sharp vibrations alerted him to runners crossing his path. No vibrations meant he was free of obstacles. Gentle pulses suggested he was securely cocooned in a pack of runners moving at roughly the same speed.
Also attached to a strap on his chest was an iPhone. On his right arm was a separate GPS device to provide more accurate positioning on the course and to save battery life on the cellphone.
“Today was always about pushing the technology to its limit,” Wheatcroft said. “We found the limit earlier in the race than we would have liked. But it was lessons learned. We can improve, move forward, make it better. It’s not the end, it’s just a start.”
We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @ adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.