Kimap: an innovative project of outdoor mobility for disabled people

The innovative project Kimap presented by the new-born Florence-based start up Kinoa was among the winners of the Tuscan Big Data Challenge.

This competition was addressed to Big Data technologies-focused companies from Tuscany and was promoted by So Big Data. So Big Data is a laboratory connecting some of the most prestigious Universities and Research Institutes in Italy (CNR -National Research Council of Pisa, University of Pisa, Scuola Normale Superiore and IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca) and is part of the biggest European research infrastructure on Big Data.

Kimap aims at enhancing the mobility and the autonomy of people using wheelchair both in urban and non-urban context. Kimap system is based on two main keywords: “participatory mapping process” and “navigation”. The mapping of architectural barriers is carried out by the users themselves through an IOT device integrated in their mobility aids. If no barrier stands in the user’s way, the route will be automatically registered as accessible for that specific wheelchair while if the route presents some kind of barrier, the user will be able to signal its nature and features. All this information is shared with other users, thus creating a participatory mapping process. A dedicated app helps users navigate easily and safely through the accessible mapped routes.

People with disabilities are those who can take advantage of Kimap in the first place. Producers of aids and help devices may also benefit from Kimap: the value of their help devices will be increased by a higher technology content (app, navigator, GPS). Kimap can also represent a crucial distinctive feature for marketing purposes. Moreover, local authorities can take advantage of Kimap to either map architectural barriers whenever requested by law or develop touristic routes.

The need to increase accessibility, as expressed by individuals, associations and institutions, was the starting point for the creation of a high-technology content product. Therefore, the innovation goes beyond the technology itself to reach a higher level: a socio-economic analysis is the first step for the creation of good and valuable commodities and technology is a means to answer the society’s needs.