Virtual reality for putting people with disabilities in control

Norman Alm, John. L. Arnott, Iain Murray, Iain Buchanan

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Virtual reality technology offers a number of useful possibilities for people with disabilities. An obvious application is for those who face mobility problems to navigate around a virtual environment with minimal physical movement, allowing someone with limited motor ability the opportunity to explore virtual spaces with the same freedom of someone without physical impairments. This has implications for educational and entertainment systems, but also opens up possibilities for therapeutic systems, where the effects of a small amount of movement might be exaggerated in a virtual representation. We have been investigating some less obvious applications of virtual reality for people with disabilities. The development of graphical interfaces with metaphorical representations which the user manipulates suggests that a three-dimensional, realistic representation may be helpful as a interface in some situations. Work on improving complex computer-based communication systems for non-speaking people has involved investigating new ways to present conversational material to the user. A system has been developed which presents the material in terms of realistic scenes through which the user can navigate. In another project a virtual reality scene has been used to attempt to capture the interest and then channel the attention of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In both cases the approach seems to offer advantages. One feature of both projects is giving the disabled user more and better control - over the interface, and also in their interactions with others.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, 1998
    Place of PublicationPiscataway, N.J.
    Number of pages5
    Publication statusPublished - 1998
    EventIEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 1998 - San Diego, C.A., United Kingdom
    Duration: 11 Oct 199814 Oct 1998


    ConferenceIEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 1998
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    CitySan Diego, C.A.
    Internet address


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