Title:How Cognitive And Cloud Technology Levels The Playing Field For The Blind
Author:Steve Hamm, IBM
The Internet, Online, 30/05/2016
Ever since Thomas Panek learned at age 20 that he would lose his eyesight due to a condition called retinal degeneration, he vowed that his disability would not prevent him from living a full life.
“I wanted to do everything that sighted people do,” he says.
He has not let himself down: In addition to serving as president of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, one of the most respected breeders and trainers of guide dogs, he has completed one dozen marathons since he lost his sight.
Thomas, who is now 45, credits information technology — along with wonderful guide dogs — for helping him get two university degrees; work in government, private industry and the not-for-profit sector; and travel the world on his own………
He got back on a career track after he participated in IBM’s Project Able program for people with disabilities — learning to program a mainframe computer using assistive technologies.
He has always been a runner, and technologies helped him continue as his eyesight was deteriorating. He used GPS technology to find his way around. Later, when he was no longer able to run by himself, he worked out on a talking treadmill and got volunteer humans to run marathons with him. Now, his dog, Gus, a four-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever, guides him when he goes on practice runs of up to 10K…….
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