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Here Comes Responsive Street Furniture

What if we lived in a place where street lights become brighter as a response to a visually impaired individual passing by? What if there are posts or bollards that are able to provide audio information? How about a street crossing that can grant an elderly person extra time? That’s what Ross Atkin has been thinking about – responsive street furniture.

Ross Atkin, a British engineer and designer, has been dedicating his time and effort in making a difference in the city he lives in. He has been working primarily on projects that help differently abled people and the elderly. He also has been using technology to design and create objects or items that will aid in meeting the needs of these individuals.

Atkin has been envisioning a world where the blind, elderly and other people with physical needs no longer adapt to the place they live in. Instead, it’s the city that adjusts and adapts to their needs. And so he began designing and creating what he calls “responsive street furniture.”

The London-based engineer designed and developed the urban fixtures with technology’s adaptability as an inspiration. His amazement of how today’s software, gadgets and other digital devices easily adapt to a unique need was channeled to the building of the remarkably useful street fixtures.

Today, Atkin is working with Marshalls, a UK-based hard landscaping manufacturer. The leading landscaping company has already manufactured and produced a few prototypes of Atkin’s designs.

With his creative designs, Atkin wants to upgrade smart cities, making them “clever cities.” And here are some of his mission statements regarding the “clever city”:

  • People’s needs and problems can be addressed through the use of the ever advancing digital technologies. Embedding them in the city is the key.
  • Technologies should be used to primarily meet the needs of the people, especially the blind, elderly and disabled.
  • Technologies should be easy to understand and simple to use so that everyone will use them.
  • Technologies should only gather just enough data or information needed to serve their purpose.

With Atkin’s vision of making the city “clever”, it would be safe to imagine a place where the people, especially the differently abled, are living with lesser hardships and struggles. With the responsive street furniture, life can be more comfortable and convenient. 

 

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