A simple walk down the street isn't always simple. Broken sidewalks, construction barricades, tree roots and many more hazards can trip up pedestrians, especially those with impaired mobility or vision. Now a new project by researchers in Computer Science uses crowd sourcing, Google Street View, and computer vision to find and identify accessibility obstacles in streets and sidewalks. The project, which combines the efforts of undergraduate Victoria Le, graduate student Kotaro Hara and assistant professor Jon Froehlich, is featured this week in New Scientist.
Froehlich explains the project can provide information to municipalities so they can fix problem areas. It can also become a data source to build new accessibility-aware navigation tools for mobility and/or vision impaired persons so they can find out about potential obstacles in their path before they set out.