Using VR Technology for Disability

Using VR Technology for Disability

September 3, 2018 12:00 pm Published by

The disability community may soon see the benefits of VR (virtual reality) technology. Primarily used for video games as an immersive alternative to a screen monitor, VR presents itself with a new opportunity: reshaping reality for individuals with disabilities. This post may seem a little sci-fi at some points, but I’m hoping that these ideas will catch on with VR system developers so we can improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. Let us take some time to examine how VR can benefit the disability community.

Plan for the Day

Map of Boston, MA

In past blog posts, we’ve explored problems plaguing the disability community, including accessibility in cities and on public transportation. VR may help relieve some of the headache by allowing people to plan their routes around the city. This will help them plan a detour if there is an obstacle, and learn how to navigate with a possibly better route. This could be improved even more by taking notes from the Waze app, which gives updates in real-time concerning traffic, accidents, and emergency services along one’s route.

Experiences: New & Old

Wheelchair user skiing using accessible ski

Some individuals with disabilities have an extreme sport or other activity to blame for their handicap, and are no longer able to participate due to their physical limitations. In other cases, some people haven’t afforded the opportunity to participate in sports or activities. In either case, VR can allow people to experience things they otherwise couldn’t. Check out this video of Evan, who uses a wheelchair, and his experience with VR technology, which allowed him to visualize himself skiing, a sport he hasn’t been able to do since he was 15.

Testing Accessible Features

In some cases when designing and building an accessible site, the planners will use VR technology to test the accessible features. A wheelchair user will put on a VR headset, and try to navigate their way in and around the building, street/intersection, etc. This technology allows the architects/designers to make improvements to the blueprints or model before commencing or continuing construction. This is a revolutionary method of approaching and resolving issues – testing out their plans on the people they’re trying to benefit before breaking ground.

We’re excited about the developments being made with VR technology. The disability community would be the perfect market for this technology, as it can help civil engineers to construct more accessible sites in the city. Contact ILCNSCA by phone at 978-741-0077, or visit our website at https://ilcnsca.org/.

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This post was written by Sperling

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