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Public Participation in the Development Process of a Mobility Assistance System for Visually Impaired Pedestrians

1
Institute for Technology Assessment and System Analysis, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
2
Study Centre for the Visually Impaired, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
3
iXpoint Informationssysteme GmbH, Pforzheimer Str. 160, 76275 Ettlingen, Germany
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VWA-Hochschule für berufsbegleitendes Studium, Wolframstraße 32, 70191 Stuttgart, Germany
5
Computer Vision for Human-Computer Interaction Lab, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology; 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Societies 2019, 9(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9020032
Received: 25 March 2019 / Revised: 12 April 2019 / Accepted: 16 April 2019 / Published: 27 April 2019
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Abstract

Blind and visually impaired people have to cope with the safe movement through public space and the (lack of) knowledge of spatial issues and walkable routes. These challenges often lead to a fear of accidents and collisions, frequently also of disorientation. This, in turn, can result in a reduced radius of action, restricted mobility, and later on, in social isolation. Against this background, the project TERRAIN aims at developing a technical guidance system for orientation and navigation in urban space. For the development of this assistance system, the project pursues an approach in which reflexive, responsive, and deliberative dimensions have been integrated to address the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) in a co-design process. This paper focuses on the participation of citizens independent of vision impairments in the project which provided a variety of relevant indications of impacts and potential technical adaptations from an ‘outer’ point of view. In addition, conclusions can be drawn about the existing desirability and acceptance of the technical solution among the potential users as well as their social environment of potential users. In addition, it turned out that the citizen participation process raised different expectations among the project partners. Therefore, this article evaluates the participation results from the perspective of the technology developers and the technology assessors. View Full-Text
Keywords: grand challenge; people with visual impairments; technology assessment; demand-orientation; public participation; co-design grand challenge; people with visual impairments; technology assessment; demand-orientation; public participation; co-design
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Weinberger, N.; Winkelmann, M.; Müller, K.; Ritterbusch, S.; Stiefelhagen, R. Public Participation in the Development Process of a Mobility Assistance System for Visually Impaired Pedestrians. Societies 2019, 9, 32.

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