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post #1 of 6 Old 09-15-2010 Thread Starter
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Remote Control: A Blind Man Goes Sailing With Help From Afar

All,
An interesting article in yesterdays WSJ. I don't know if you can access the WSJ online article, but here is a link.

Remote Control: A Blind Man Goes Sailing With Help From Afar - WSJ.com

Remote Control: A Blind Man Goes Sailing With Help From Afar

SAN FRANCISCO—When Ed Gallagher goes sailing, he wears a webcam on his head, straps a netbook computer to his hip and hops onto a boat with his dog. Then he relies on Herb Meyer, a skipper back on land, to watch the live, streaming webcam video and give him instructions.

Mr. Gallagher, who is 59 years old, is blind. "I used to listen to the old blind guys who had been sailing for years say you don't really need your eyes," he says. "I wanted the ability for blind people to truly sail by themselves without a whole crew."

Mr. Gallagher's sailing experiment was on view one Sunday afternoon recently. While Mr. Meyer, who is also disabled, parked his wheelchair at the bar in the San Francisco Yacht Club with a laptop, cellphone and a beer, Mr. Gallagher was in a 36-foot sailboat with his guide dog, Genoa.

"Tack left, Ed. Tack left," Mr. Meyer spoke into his headset. "Ed, you're not listening to me. I'm the captain. Tack left. Oh, I lost him again," he said after the screen went dark from a weak signal. For Mr. Meyer, who still sails after a boating accident left him wheelchair-bound 17 years ago, it was like playing a videogame.

There is more on the WSJ website.

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post #2 of 6 Old 09-15-2010
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I see so many potential problems with doing that...

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post #3 of 6 Old 09-15-2010
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I see so many potential problems with doing that...
Of course, but there are lots of potential problems with a lot of things, particularly when you talk about the disabled doing them. Just because there are potential problem, doesn't mean it still isn't worth it for them to participate.

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I'm thinking of the risks if the data connection is lost for more than a few minutes or at a crucial point... I've worked with the disabled, in things like ski programs and sailing programs, but think that there should be someone aboard for emergencies... not via an inherently unreliable telecommunications link.

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I'm thinking of the risks if the data connection is lost for more than a few minutes or at a crucial point... I've worked with the disabled, in things like ski programs and sailing programs, but think that there should be someone aboard for emergencies... not via an inherently unreliable telecommunications link.
I don't necessarily disagree with you. Sounds like they had a very flaky connection which could have serious consequences. I think it is a great idea however, that could be improved upon with a little thought.

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post #6 of 6 Old 09-16-2010
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I'm not giving up sailing until I can't do it at all. I admire the blind guy sailing. I'll just look out for him.
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