I had been testing out Vi, a set of $249 Bluetooth running headphones with its own built-in AI assistant and biometric tracking features. After a convoluted series of events in which I was offered a potentially illegal entry to the Brooklyn Half Marathon a week before the race, I found my adventure: I decided to run my own 13.1 miles in the Prospect Park Loop with nothing but the AI headphones to guide me, using Vi for a crash training course to prep in less than a week. Vi doesn't offer much more than other running apps I've used: It tracks the distance you run, measures your heart rate, and offers some realtime coaching direction to fine-tune your step rate to find your ideal pace, which it calls your "Comfort Zone," -- but it leaves much to be desired as a next-gen personal trainer. It currently has no dedicated feature to set specific goals, so users prepping for races like me have no guide to train for big events or set more defined goals than just fine-tuning their running style.
Erich Manser finished his eighth Boston Marathon on Monday, but this race was different than any one before it: It was his first time completing the course with an assistive technology called Aira. There were some glitches, and how the race went exposes both the pitfalls and potential of a technology designed to help people who are blind or visually impaired. "This is not a technology that was developed to have a blind person run the Boston Marathon by themselves." The race was intended as a way to push forward a platform meant to help visually impaired people do things like navigate a city street, go grocery shopping, or grab an Uber.
Haslet, a former dance instructor who became an advocate for amputees after her injury, wrote on her Instagram page that it was an "honor to open and close the show for Canadian designer Lesley Hampton at Vancouver Fashion Week." To help empower other amputees, Hampton partnered with the Be Body Aware project to help promote more inclusivity on the catwalk, according to a news release. In addition to casting Haslet, Hampton sought models with all different shapes and sizes for her show. "Together with the Be Body Aware project, I am hoping to set as an example for anyone affected by adversity and stand up once again to the fashion standards."
We've seen running bipedal robots before, but they tend to move like, well, robots. The robot, aptly named Athlete, sports an artificial musculoskeletal system that mirrors human muscles in the leg, hip, lower abdomen, and booty and has a springy elastic blade foot like those seen on prosthetic running legs. Athlete has seven sets of actuator-driven artificial muscles in each leg, plus touch sensors on each foot and an inertial measurement unit on the torso for detecting the body's orientation. Niiyama--who also worked on Mowgli the bipedal jumping robot--developed Athlete as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tokyo's Department of Mechano-Informatics along with with colleagues Satoshi Nishikawa and Yasuo Kuniyoshi.
"It's a really versatile tool," said George Robusti, senior design director of global running at Adidas, of the ARAMIS system. As we sat and talked inside Adidas' headquarters in Portland, Ore., I asked Robusti how AlphaBounce compares to the Ultra Boost and NMD, two of the company's most popular runner lines. During a demo of the sneaker, the team behind AlphaBounce compared its blend of materials and design techniques to Apple's signature approach: seamless integration between hardware and software. "In the past, we've always used off-the-shelf materials or processes that have existed," said Andy Barr, Adidas' category director of global running.
Here are some more things to look for in this year's race: Defending champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, who also won in 2013, is running again, along with women's winner Carolina Rotich of Kenya. Organizers also took time in race week to recognize the 80th anniversary of Ellison "Tarzan" Brown's 1936 victory. "He broke a lot of barriers in the way Native Americans were perceived," Wosencroft said, "and he did it with ease." 2 American overall -- in the 1989 Boston Marathon, and Gracey was born on Patriots Day in 1990 while her father was running the race.