Edmonton startup develops app to help overcome construction barriers


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An Edmonton startup is mapping barriers for citizens who get around the city on foot, by bike, or those with mobility issues.

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Click&Push Accessibility Inc. is run by two Edmontonians with disabilities and two members of the Rehabilitation Robotics Lab at the University of Alberta School of Rehabilitation Medicine.

The group has developed a mobile application called The Atlas, designed to allow members of the public to identify, classify and locate obstacles in real time on an interactive map. It has also been developed to be used in hands-free mode so that barriers can be set up using voice commands.

The app is also intended for use by construction companies so Edmontonians can navigate their job sites.

Arne Andres, director of Click&Push, said people can take photos of the barriers and upload them so others can see what it looks like. Not only will the Atlas map the outer barriers, it will also map the inner barriers. Currently, work is underway to map the University of Alberta libraries.

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“If you’re a person like me in an electric chair coming from the college transit center, it will show me the fastest route to this library,” Andres said.

“If I click on the map, and then the inside information will be there, the tables are arranged this way, the toilets are accessible on the third floor, we suggest you use the second floor, then there is an ice buildup the main entrance door, so maybe you’ll see if you can find another entrance.

Andres said this is a daily problem for people trying to cross the barriers around the city and the Atlas is meant to increase accessibility.

“It’s really distressing like when I’m already in a transit center in Southgate and nobody told me the lift wasn’t working, Atlas would tell me,” Andres said. “It saves us an inconvenience, especially for people in wheelchairs.”

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Another feature of the app is for people using manual wheelchairs, the app will tell them the amount of effort used in this route. But the app is not only for people with reduced mobility, cyclists, pedestrians and people pushing strollers can also use the app.

However, Andres says the company needs support to develop the app at a rapid pace.

“We have the technology that we just need to hire more software developers to pursue this at this scale,” he said.

Andres would also like to see the City of Edmonton and construction companies get involved in the app, potentially through pilot projects that would see Click&Push improve communication between contractors, the city and residents for having to negotiate construction sites. .

He said he hasn’t seen much progress over the years to improve accessibility.

“That’s why we made it our mission to provide a solution.”

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