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Christmas Gift Guide

Meet Erich Manser

Tackling the Boston Marathon

A new use for Google Glass

Powering through the marathon

The view from an Aira agent

Making Google Glass cool again

A tour through Littleton

Blind leading the blind

A little fun run

Google Glass stigma remains

Trying it out for myself

An unusual walk through Central Park

A few awkward stumbles

You've reached your destination

Erich Manser is an avid marathon and Iron Man competitor. He also has a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which has left him legally blind. 

Caption by / Photo by Nicholas Henry/CNET

For this year's Boston Marathon, Manser opted to run with both a physical companion and a remote guide who saw his perspective through his Google Glass. The agent is an employee of startup Aira, whose software runs on the Glass and is designed for the visually impaired. 

Caption by / Photo by Aira

Manser got his Google Glass from Aira, who supplies them to customers and charges a monthly rate for access to a remote agent. 

Caption by / Photo by Aira

Manser actually didn't start with the Aira agent -- the system wasn't working. He ran with his physical guide for the first few miles before pulling over and getting Glass, his Bluetooth headset, AT&T wireless hotspot and iPhone working again. 

Caption by / Photo by Aira

From her office in Ohio, Aira agent Jessica Jakeway is able to see what Manser sees through Glass' forward-facing camera. She also has Google Maps up for local information like landmarks and upcoming turns. 

Caption by

Google Glass was the hot new thing. Then it wasn't, as people soured on the idea of smart glasses that constantly shot video. But Glass -- and smart glasses in general -- are making a comeback thanks to new and useful applications that actually change people's lives.

Caption by / Photo by Nicholas Henry/CNET

Manser invites me into his home and shows me his neighborhood of Littleton, Massachusetts, about an hour's drive from Boston. 

Caption by / Photo by Nicholas Henry/CNET

I may be guiding Manser across the street, but he takes the lead when it comes to running through his neighborhood. 

Caption by / Photo by Nicholas Henry/CNET

Manser talks about how the system has affected his life during our run. I struggle to keep up. 

Caption by / Photo by Nicholas Henry/CNET

People are still a little turned off by Google Glass and smart glasses in general, but tech companies are convinced that people will warm up to them. It starts with smart applications like Aira. 

Caption by / Photo by Nicholas Henry/CNET

Back in New York, I wanted to try out the system for myself. So I put on an eyemask and then Google Glass, and connected with Jakeway, the same agent that guided Manser. 

Caption by / Photo by Nicholas Henry/CNET

I took my first few steps with a bit of trepidation. I'm completely disoriented, but slowly start to rely on Jakeway's guidance to get me through the park. 

Caption by / Photo by Nicholas Henry/CNET

I was afraid of any big accidents. Fortunately, the only incident was a quick stumble off of the path and stubbing my toe. After a while, I was completely comfortable walking without sight. 

Caption by / Photo by Nicholas Henry/CNET

After eight minutes of walking blind and averting other Central Park visitors, I make it to the end of the path, a few feet away from a model boat pond. 

Caption by / Photo by Nicholas Henry/CNET
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