March 25, 2021

A mobile phone app will help disabled students

Lublin University of Technology will allocate PLN 3.5 million to adapt the university to the needs of students and doctoral students with disabilities. The funds come from the National Center for Research and Development.

Within the frames of a 2.5-year project entitled "Accessible University - Development Program of Lublin University of Technology" many activities are planned, such as the development of an application which will help to move around the campus, the university’s employees will participate in trainings, workshops and meetings with a psychologist, specialist equipment and software for people with various disabilities will be purchased.

The app named "LUT – an accessible university" will help people with physical disabilities, the blind and visually impaired to move around the campus. It is an interactive campus map which contains all the buildings along with their names and addresses as well as the location of potential architectural obstacles. The application will warn, among others, against high curbs, unusual road surface or uneven paving slabs.

- Let's imagine that a disabled person wants to attend classes at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and has an Android phone and built-in GPS with a speaking function. The person can use the application to find the right route and if there are any obstacles, he or she will be informed about it and for example choose another route where there are no architectural barriers. The route will be visible on the device and voice commands will direct the user to the destination - explains Magdalena Kuś, the project manager.

People logged in to the application will be able to ask for help and send information about obstacles and problems occurring on the campus, which will allow for the constant update of the campus map.

Ninety research, teaching and administrative staff will undergo specialist trainings, including techniques of managing emotions in difficult situations, first aid or copyrights for teachers working with disabled people.

- Sign language classes, modern methods of teaching foreign languages and conducting PE classes will be an interesting proposition for our staff. Our employees will also learn how to support and communicate with students with mental disorders and autism. We have also planned individual meetings with a psychologist as well as integrative creative and dance workshops realized in cooperation with the Association of Dance Lovers from Lublin - says Magdalena Kuś.

The project will also allow for adjusting the university’s infrastructure to the needs of disabled people by eliminating access barriers to the Internet and by purchasing specialist educational equipment and software for people with various disabilities.