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Wheelchair user creates mobility app

Shared by Ana Duarte on 2015-09-15 14:55

About the solution

But when he showed up at the McDonalds on Groenplaats, staff told him those “accessible” restrooms were in fact on the first floor. And there was no elevator. “First, it was a little baffling that the information was incorrect. Second, of course it was frustrating,” he says. “And third, it gave me the idea that I needed to find something that would help me”.

And this is how Desmet came up with the idea for his app, On Wheels. This invention aims to alleviate the big unknown that often haunts those in a wheelchair – can they get inside or not? It allows users to view and upload information on the accessibility of public locations like coffee shops, pharmacies, banks, government buildings and restaurants.
To get started, users simply need to enter the width of their wheelchair and the maximum height of thresholds they can handle and then the app shows users those places accessible to them.

People can also upload their own information anywhere in the world. “You just measure the width of the door, the height of the thresholds, verify if there are wheelchair-accessible restrooms, and whether there’s a place in the business where you can turn around,” Desmet says, explaining that when the latter isn’t possible, that means rolling backwards all the way to the exit. “We verify that information is correct, and if it is, it’s added to the map”.

Today, the app offers information on some 9,000 locations across Flanders.

On Wheels won’t help with the psychological adjustment, Desmet says; that’s something wheelchair users have to work out on their own. “But it can help you at the mobility level,” he says. “It’s really as if your place in this world becomes a bit bigger”.

More info: http://onwheelsapp.com/

Adapted from: https://bit.ly/2qjzNk6

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

Michiel Desmet, from Belgium, born in 1987, is on a wheelchair and has come up with an app that gives wheelchair users greater freedom as they move around Flanders’ cities.
Since a bus accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, casual outings had become something Desmet needed to plan in advance, more so than most people.
So he did his homework and scrutinized an online map from the City of Antwerp that spotlighted a number of wheelchair-accessible restrooms across the city.

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