GPS Used As a Tool for Assisting The Disabled

Dennis Faas's picture

Living in a time of major technological advances, it is easy to forget that life existed comfortably without many of the modern conveniences we enjoy today.

Indeed, were we to abandon many of the software, programs and devices that we now have come to accept as everyday tools, most of us would continue to live a life where all of our basic needs are satisfied.

But not all of us lead comfortable lives. Many people living with disabilities must endure a life designed for the able. The introduction of new devices is slowly helping these individuals cope with their disabilities.

With that said, the next technological advancement is expected to come from Hamburg, Germany and will attempt to conquer the biggest hurdle for those confined to a wheelchair: more efficient, less time consuming and overall more convenient travel.

After having been paralyzed following a horse-riding accident, Anette von Laffert realized the difficulty of traveling in a wheelchair. Anette, who studies nutrition at the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg, discovered that many of the paths along her school's campus often ended in dead ends. (Source:

Realizing that these were also likely the concerns of many others coping with their disabilities, Anette and a few of her classmates volunteered their spare time to develop a program that would map out the safest and most efficient paths for those traveling by wheelchair.

The program, now in its primary stage of completion, applies data taken from the Microsoft Virtual Earth website to create a system of detailed maps that displays common barriers, like steps and dead ends. (Source:

The software, aptly named "Trailblazers", intends to offer wheelchair users a barrier-free guide to the world.

While barrier-free software is readily available in many markets, most cover limited areas (mostly tourist destinations).

The idea of the GPS (Global Positioning System) used as a tool for assisting the disabled was first revealed in early 2006. Trailblazers will intend to capitalize on this idea by specifically designing all of its features with the disabled commuter in mind. (Source:

Currently, Trailblazers is only expected to generate routes that are around the Hamburg area, but as interest grows for the product and as more people contribute to the service, the system will eventually expand into an international medium.

| Tags:
Rate this article: 
No votes yet