Archive for the ‘Design for Disability’ Category

Crowdmaps for crisis situations

Problem in crisis situations is the unknown state of the specific region – Where is help needed most? Which roads are still available? Where is fresh water? – and so on. The information is only available localy. During the riots after the election in Kenia in 2007 some people developed an open source map with its content based on latest user information. The platform is called Ushahidi, which is Suaheli and means witness. Users come together and contribute to the map to keep it up to date. Thereby the information can be based on different source – Twitter, Facebook, eMail, SMS … There is even an Ushahidi app for windows and android phones. But who can tell if the informant is trust worthy? To lessen problems of reliability of the source, attempts are made to use local reporters as contributors to the map content. The reports are requested to rate the reliability of their source. One not avoidable problem is that some of the people in crisis shaken regions simply do not have access to the internet or a handy (like many people in Kenia). However it is a good option to get the current status of a region after such an event like Fukushima.

In general the principle to form a map out of various contributing users is called crowdmap. Information is gathered from the web, news and cell phone. The map offers visualization of the information and also a timeline of the reported events. SMS contribution can be arranged in coorporation with SMS services.

Check here to make your own crowdmap:

Check here for an article on CNN:


Not everyday products – stair climbing wheelchair

October 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Once I had the idea of a wheelchair that moves its wheels intelligent so it can climb stairs, slow down if it goes downhill and avoid stones. But of course I was not the first. A Japanese University develops a wheelchair that can move each of its wheels individually. Currently it exists as prototype.  But there is another stair climbing wheelchair existing as commercial product. It has two pairs of big wheels that can be move on top of each other and balance in segway technology. Not every wheel can individually move but with the rotating pairs of wheels it is possible to climb stairs and also to dance balancing.

 Ibot wheelchair – stair climbing wheelchair as commercial product

Computer help for people with disabilities

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Everybody has sometimes the problem that the computer does not what he is intented to do. It is especially difficult for people with disability, if the help tools are not running any longer or to find specific information that helps.
The following website offers a nice service to help with those problems. They search for volunteering people visiting the specific person and find a solution for their computer problem. Further new helpful applications are provided and a forum collecting questions arround the computer: