We are living in the age of increased virtual reality and augmented reality experiences, but these technologies are not readily accessible and affordable for everyone. In order for people to have a great experience in either AR or VR, they need to have a headset and that can be cost prohibitive, which is a barrier to integrating these emerging technologies into education programs and underserved communities all around the world.

Researchers have worked to create a low-cost prototype sourced from basic materials, allowing the user to experience VR and AR without a costly headset. The prototype was built using foam board, welding goggles, concave lenses and adhesive tape.

While Google Cardboard does exist and allows for more of the population to create AR and VR viewing devices, there are limits to what smartphones can be used, and the design doesn’t allow for manual adjustments to enhance the experience.

There’s still room to grow in making AR/VR technologies truly accessible. Many of these experiences and simulations are designed to have a person who is standing. This would prohibit people with limited or no mobility from experiencing the VR. As uses for AR/VR technology increases, the technology will continue to confront the need for accessibility.

Written by IEEE on November 16, 2017

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