Smartphone navigates research grant

Smartphone navigates research grant
  • $40,000 awarded to Curtin University for the Dr Louisa Alessandri Research Grant
  • Study to explore urban navigation using smartphones
  • Grant honours child health researcher Dr Louisa Alessandri

Innovative research on how people with disability use smartphones to navigate urban spaces is the winner of the State Government’s 2016 Dr Louisa Alessandri Research Grant.

Disability Services Minister Donna Faragher awarded the $40,000 Disability Services Commission grant today and said the results from the Curtin University study would demonstrate how technology helped people with disability and could potentially shape future urban design.

“The project will look at how people with disability are using smartphones to travel around suburbs, towns and cities,” Mrs Faragher said.

“This might include using a smartphone app to locate accessible taxi ranks or a local government’s ACROD parking map to plan their journey.”

The research project will collect data from four people in three separate locations – Curtin University, Perth and Bunbury.  Two participants will be wheelchair users and the other two will be vision impaired.

The Minister said a new app would be developed to track and map the participants’ movements from their smartphones’ global positioning system.

“The app will regularly capture the participants’ phone use to see how mobile devices and apps are becoming an integral part of how people with disability travel around in urban spaces,” she said.

Mrs Faragher said the project’s findings would be used to educate and inform local governments, disability service providers and allied health professionals on how accessibility of the urban environment could be improved for people with disability.

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