The partnerships enabling disabled city residents to better explore their surroundings

Innovations don’t necessarily always begin as projects specifically for people with disabilities, either. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University developed an artificial intelligence-operated adaptive traffic signal system, Surtrac, that detects traffic and changes the lights accordingly instead of relying on pre-programmed light cycles. Pittsburgh piloted the system at dozens of intersections and found that traffic flowed better, but pedestrians initially weren’t taken into account. The research team tweaked the system based on feedback and also developed a complementary app for people with disabilities to communicate with the system and receive more time to cross the street. The changes proved beneficial not just for people with disabilities, but for all pedestrians…

One targeted innovation for which researchers at Ohio State University seek more partnerships is a road paint that reacts with specially-designed tips on canes for the visually impaired. The team is testing standard street paint with added light-converted oxides, which have the ability to convert one wavelength of light to another wavelength.