Mobile App Can Find the Best Routes for Wheelchair Users

These days, it seems like there is a mobile application for even the most mundane and superficial uses. This isn’t a bad thing, because it keeps many people happy and occupied throughout all hours of the day, but in the sea of apps that are available to consumers (there are over three million apps available between the Google Play and Apple stores alone), there are so few that are designed specifically to help people with disabilities.

Over the years, Uber has expanded its WAV application to certain cities and into Canada, and there has even been an app that directs wheelchair users to accessible CTA stops in Chicago. It certainly seems like there are people out there who want to code for the sake of the wheelchair-using community, but not many notable apps have surfaced since the inception of the smartphone.

Building the Bones for a Wheelchair App

Recently, a team of researchers and developers from the Centre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT) have had a breakthrough on a new system that they plan to use in an app geared towards wheelchair users. The app is designed to calculate and display routes that are not only accessible for wheelchair users, but clear of bumps, curbs and other obstacles, as well.

According to the researchers in the Pervasive Systems department at CTIT, the app will utilize “multidimensional error-sensitive sensor data on smartphones” to identify paths that are comfortable and safe for wheelchair users (it’s quite a mouthful).

In the simplest of terms, the app will work similarly to a GPS in a wheelchair accessible van. It will calculate a route for wheelchair users to take that is free of rough terrain, poorly paved sidewalks, curbs without wheelchair accessibility, and any other obstacles that stand in the way of wheelchair mobility.

Relief for Wheelchair Users

Cities and urban areas are often not built with wheelchair users in mind, and wheelchair users who find it difficult to maneuver around rough terrain will find it to be a big push towards making life more comfortable for everyone. Those who suffer from spinal cord injuries and are prone to spasms caused by hitting bumps and cracks will find it particularly useful.

The app may extend the length of a person’s trip, but the comfort it provides will be irreplaceable.

Do you know of any more apps that are designed for people with disabilities? Let us know in the comments below so that everyone can enjoy using them!

« Back to Blog