Tech Partnerships Seek Greater Mobility for the Disabled
Katie Pyzyk covers a few partnership efforts seeking greater mobility for disabled urban residents, the blind in particular. She writes, "Difficulty with obtaining services and getting around a city can cause people with disabilities to not venture out into the world, and consequently, feel isolated. That problem is present enough on its own, but even more so when municipal innovations omit considerations for people with disabilities and make them feel like they can't keep up with the rest of society."
Because cities often don't have the resources to develop tech-based solutions to those problems, partnerships with the private sector and academia can be one way forward. "One targeted innovation for which researchers at Ohio State University seek more partnerships is a road paint that reacts with specially-designed tips on canes for the visually impaired. [...] Smart cane users will get a signal when their device touches the paint, indicating a boundary that could be dangerous to cross."
The city of Tampa is planning to pilot this "smart paint" during the coming months. Other projects involve apps like Microsoft's Soundscape, which uses audio cues to inform the visually impaired about their surroundings.