Tuesday 12pm, 14 April 2015

Steinfeld aaron

Crowdsourcing and Robots for Public Transit Users of All Abilities

Aaron Steinfeld

Associate Professor - Carnegie Mellon University


In recent years there has been a renewed focus on technologies that improve quality of life for older adults and people with disabilities. When combined with universal design, these technologies provide value to all users and lead to a larger societal impact. Crowdsourcing allows users to help each other and enhance technology functionality. This talk will demonstrate how to mix technology, crowdsourcing, and universal design to enhance quality of life.

Public transit is critical to daily life and is usually accessible in the United States due to the Americans with Disabilities Act and other regulations. However, important information, services, and functionality are often missing due to limited staffing or available technology. I will describe (a) Tiramisu Transit, a crowdsource app designed to provide key real-time transit information for people with disabilities and (b) our efforts to develop robot assistants that support blind travelers in public transit stations.

These efforts also follow a pattern common in Carnegie Mellon transportation projects: Research, Development, and Deployment (RD&D). Releasing technology to the general public allows a second phase of research to occur, at a much larger scale. Examples from the Tiramisu Transit project will show how this increases scientific knowledge while also having a positive impact on society.


Dr. Aaron Steinfeld is an Associate Research Professor in the Robotics Institute (RI) at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his BSE, MSE, and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and completed a Post Doc at U.C. Berkeley. He is the Co-Director of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Public Transportation (RERC-APT), Director of the DRRP on Inclusive Cloud and Web Computing, and the area lead for transportation related projects in the Quality of Life Technology Center (QoLT). His research focuses on operator assistance under constraints, i.e., how to enable timely and appropriate interaction when technology use is restricted through design, tasks, the environment, time pressures, and/or user abilities. His work includes intelligent transportation systems, crowdsourcing, human-robot interaction, rehabilitation, and universal design.