With AI and other tech, Anat Caspi focuses on helping people with disabilities

The Seattle Times | August 4, 2019

In her role as the director of the University of Washington’s Taskar Center for Accessible Technology, Caspi creates technology focused on people with disabilities such as motor limitations, in many instances applying artificial intelligence (AI).

“It’s really about treating people as humans with different needs and preferences,” she said as a cyclist passing by rang a bell.

She sees the mapping of pedestrian infrastructure — walkways, sidewalks, overpasses, underpasses and trails — as a necessary lifeline for people with disabilities. Everyone approaches an environment with different levels of attentiveness and perceptual and motor abilities. 

So Caspi and her Taskar team created a framework to log the features of sidewalk infrastructure in a project called OpenSidewalks, which is now being used by King County’s paratransit service to help people with disabilities navigate any trip. She also helped create AccessMap, an AI-powered online travel planner that identifies surfaces, slopes and obstacles to help users choose the best route for them.

Read full Seattle Times article.