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Don’t be alarmed if you see someone steering what looks like a computer robot on wheels around your Braintree neighborhood.

It’s a StreetScan device checking sidewalks and curb ramps for their handicapped accessibility.

Mayor Joseph Sullivan announced on July 12 that the town was using StreetScan, a Burlington-based high-tech startup, to assess all 200-plus miles of sidewalk in Braintree.

The devices use sensors that record acoustic, optical, and electromagnetic waves in the pavement and record factors such as sidewalk width and slope and the dimensions and conditions of ramps, according to the announcement.

“The data collected will allow us to prioritize and develop plans for sidewalk improvements,” said Kristen Zechello, the town’s Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator. The town also looks at accessibility when it rebuilds roads as part of an ongoing “100 Roads Program,” she said.


The scanning process is expected to be completed by the end of August, she said.

StreetScan started as a research project at Northeastern University and became a private company partly owned by the university in 2015, according to Chief Growth Officer Jon-Erik Dillon. He said the company has assessed sidewalks and roads in numerous Massachusetts communities, including Beverly, Brockton, Chelsea, Concord, Everett, Kingston, Newton, Revere, Sharon and Winthrop.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.