Making VR Accessible for People with Physical Disabilities

Computers & Mobile Technology Wearables
Making VR Accessible for People with Physical Disabilities

Virtual Reality seems to be pursuing two diametrically opposed goals at the same time. To make the physical interface match our real life as much as possible, and to make the virtual presentation take us away from real life. Think about it a bit. The end goal of virtual reality hardware is simply to fully immerse your very real body into the virtual environments, where you can do things you can’t do in real life.  This fervor filled push toward precise tracking and absolute recreation of our body movements is leaving people with physical disabilities behind.

Right now, small and big studios alike are building incredible experiences that fully immerse you by using hand trackers and VR headsets, but already people with limited movement are finding it impossible to participate. This is where Grzegorz Bednarski with Walkin VR steps in. He is creating a driver that allows people who have limited mobility to play VR games. In the video below, you can see his system in full action, assisting a player who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy.

Walkin VR allows the user to rest their arms in a comfortable position, then emulates the proper positioning for them. It sounds like such a small adjustment, but it can completely change the experience for many. The people in the video are resting their arms, with elbows supported, and playing in first person shooter games and even painting in tilt brush. The driver even allows people to play a game while they are laying in bed or using only one arm.

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The system is installed on the computer and works on all SteamVR experiences (which may not be every game but is still quite numerous). It also only costs $32 to purchase, which is an absolute steal.

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