Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wheelchair Access - There's an App for that?

Raul Krauthausen, who has used a wheelchair since childhood, has always been uncomfortable with the services Germany provides for the physically handicapped, like special taxis and grocery delivery - saying they feel patronizing and further isolate him from the able-bodied world.

So Krauthausen took matters into his own hands and launched wheelmap.org, an iPhone application and website in German and English that allows users to share ratings and tips on how accessible shops, bars and other places are.

"Sometimes I feel I'm treated like a child who isn't allowed to decide specific things by myself," said the 30-year-old who suffers from a genetic disorder that makes his bones brittle. "I want to remain flexible and not be dependent on when a driving service has time to pick me up."

It turned out he wasn't the only one who felt that way. With some 300 new user-ratings daily, wheelmap.org now has details on 30,000 locations. Around 80 percent of tagged spots are in Germany, but site ratings for cities like London and New York are slowly growing, Krauthausen said.

"Wheelmap.org wants to help show people with mobility impairments everything that's achievable," he said.

Krauthausen attributes Wheelmap's success to its availability as an iPhone application and the "Wiki principle" - the idea that anyone, anywhere can contribute. Users rate locations without registering, but must log in to add specific comments.

more...

3 comments:

  1. That really is a great idea. I can imagine an app where it works like Yelp or other social sites. It would take a while to build up enough information to be really helpful but it has the potential to be great for both businesses and those with disabilities so that they can enjoy greater mobility.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I appreciate your post, i learn few things in this post, I have book marked this internet site so ideally I’ll see much more on this subject in the foreseeable future!

    Disability Products

    ReplyDelete
  3. You really do have your will and guts.,enjoy what ever life brings,be thankful to god for the graces received.,Touching story dude.

    ReplyDelete