Brief: Develop the future of mobility for accessibility in the year 2030 for the city of San Francisco. 

Partners: Ford Motor Company.

Learnings: Speculative Design, Futuristic Thinking, Design Research, Film Making, Video Editing, Cinematography, Collaboration, Storyboarding, Product Design, Behavioral Design

Approach & Role: Working with Andy Shimmin, Krystel Delos Reyes, and Sara Ras, my role in this project was co-creating our product, organizing our team, and distributing responsibilities evenly.  I conducted interviews, concept ideation, synthesized findings, co-storyboarded.

Team Members: Andres Hurtado, Andy Shimmin , Krystel Delos Reyes, and Sara Ras

Length: 5 weeks.

Imagine you live in San Francisco in the year 2040. That’s not hard,

but now imagine that future when your voice is not heard...  

Introducing SONA

 

SONA is an accessibility ecosystem platform designed to accommodate the mobility needs of diasbled individuals.   

So my team and I decided to do something about it...

1

Research

 

Our team's goal was to design for the future of mobility, specifically for accessibility needs. Our team came to the conclusion that, since accessibility is a very particularly broad exploration area, designing for accessibility needs would require for us to go out into the world, and directly talk to people about their accessibility needs, and what accessibility means to them.  

2

Synthesis

 

Based on our primary and secondary research, we mapped out the various accessibility needs for each area, came up with an assorted number of concept prototypes, and narrowed them down to the ones with most impact potential. Designing for accessibility on visual impairment seemed to have a lot of potentials.

Inspiration

 

The person who made it real and demonstrated the struggles visually impaired people go through is a blind man named AJ who has been blind since birth.

How Might We...

3

Concept Development

 

We came up with various concept scenarios showcasing the struggles visually impaired people go through in terms of accessibility to mobility, and the possible solutions the future might bring for them. 

Smart Environments
Smart Earplugs
Smart Street Plates
Smart Contact Lenses
Smart Contact Lenses
Cane & Audio Problems
Cane & Audio Problems
Cane & Audio Problems
Cane & Audio Problems

4

Defining Accessibility 

 

We determined that accessibility falls under four main categories: behavioral, communication, physical, and sensory.

Our Focus... 

 

Our focus for accessibility in mobility ended up focusing on visual impairment.

5

SONA Ecosystem

The individual doesn't just receive information about the systems around them but also gets placed at the center of that system.  The input received and output given by the system changes for accordingly to their needs.

SONA Glasses

We came up with SONA Glasses.  The SONA Glasses allow the user to hear the world in an enhanced way.  There are sensors in the sunglasses that both take in and receive information from the environment.  The information is then sent to the speaker of the sunglasses.  It is smart tech that learns your personal accessibility needs and makes sure that your surroundings accommodate them.

Tactile Paths

 

Unlike the tactile paths in San Francisco found only on street intersections, tactile paths in Japan and Argentina are located all across sidewalks.  This helps visually impaired people orient themselves and guide them to places.  AJ described using these with his cane as though he is tracing over waves, so we were inspired to incorporate them into our system. 

Accessibility Through Art & Vibrancy

 

We envision a future San Francisco that has art and vibrancy throughout the city, but also provides the accessibility that users with disabilities need to get around the city.  The tactile paths connected to our SONA system would provide the auditory and visual feedback for people based on the accessibility needs.

SONA Ecosystem Potential

Poster made by Andy Shimmin

Sunglasses are not the only tool that allows us to enter this world though, we have imagined this to expand into other products such as contact lenses, earrings, wristbands, etc.  Designers with empathy can only go so far. If we really want to design for accessibility we must have more disabled people designing. We urge the San Francisco city, Ford, and CCA to hire and work with more people with disability and diverse backgrounds to be able to universally and inclusively build the future. 

Copyright © 2020 Andrés Eduardo Hurtado. All Rights Reserved.

Smart Contact Lenses