Workshop on VR Accessibility in Distance Adult Education
August 28th, 2023
As virtual reality (VR) technology becomes more pervasive, it continues to find multiple new uses
beyond research laboratories. One of them is distance adult education—the potential of VR to
provide valuable education experiences is massive, despite the current barriers to its widespread
application. Nevertheless, recent trends demonstrate clearly that VR is on the rise in education
settings, and VR-only courses are becoming more popular across the globe. This trend will continue
as more affordable VR solutions are released commercially, increasing the number of education
institutions that benefit from the technology. No accessibility guidelines exist at present that are
created specifically for the implementation of specific accessibility features for VR hardware and
software in distance education. The purpose of this workshop is to address this niche and formulate
a set of practical guidelines and its implementations for the use of VR in distance adult education to
make it accessible to a wider range of people.
To make it happen we would like to invite researchers and practitioners who represent the fields of
distance education, virtual reality, and accessibility, as well as those with combined experience in
these areas. We encourage people that are interested in new forms of distance education to join our
debate on the opportunities and challenges of the application of VR in their fields—even if they lack
prior experience with the technology.
Community Discussion on Haptics and Accessibility
February 28, 2023
The XR Community Discussion on Haptics took place on February 28th at 11am PT / 2pm ET and featured presentations from leading industry figures Bob Crockett, Ashley Huffman, and Dhruv Jain, followed by an open audience discussion of best practices for addressing how haptics can help XR utilize the sense of touch for immersion and accessibility.
Augmented Reality Obstacle Avoidance | Dylan Fox
January 31, 2023
How can augmented reality amplify vision to support obstacle navigation for people with limited sight? Join UC Berkeley researcher and XR Access Head of Community and Outreach Dylan Fox to learn about Augmented Reality Obstacle Avoidance. This research project showcases the opportunities and challenges faced in leveraging AR as an assistive technology, such as using digital cues to improve the contrast of physical obstacles and pointing out hazards that users might miss. With AR devices growing ever more popular, this work hints at how they may follow the smartphone in becoming powerhouses of accessible technology.
Inclusive Immersion: Inclusive Design of Immersive Content
November 29th, 2022
Community Discussion on Audio Cues in Virtual Environments
September 22, 2022
As we continue to explore bringing accessibility to XR technology, we identified the need to examine audio cues in immersive environments. XRA and XR Access partnered to host a 90-minute session comprised of industry experts and the public to identify if lessons learned in the application of audio cues in 2D games can be applied to immersive experiences to benefit the blind and low vision communities. Nearly 70 people registered for the event, and we were joined by three featured speakers to probe into the topic. A recording of the session can be viewed here. Notes from the session, including helpful resources, relevant links, discussion topics, and transcripts, can all be found here. (more…)
Accessible XR Summer Research Program | Final Presentations
August 5, 2022
Each summer, Cornell Tech and Columbia University welcome undergraduates from across the country to their campuses for a NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in accessible XR.
This year, eight students spent the summer learning research methods, building prototypes, and testing new ideas for projects that make XR more accessible to people with disabilities.
You’re invited to view final presentations from the REU project groups on Friday, August 5th at 1pm ET. Students will provide background on their projects and demonstrate the technologies they’ve created. Please join us in congratulating our hard-working students on their successes during this program!
Inclusive User Testing in VR @ MIT Reality Hack
August 9, 2022
Completed as part of the MIT 2022 Reality Hack, “Inclusive User Testing in VR” is an accessible in-game tool that allows general audiences to give feedback on VR projects. Users can use a variety of input methods, including voice-to-text and VR keyboards, and also includes screen reader support for low-vision individuals. This functionality allows researchers, developers, and designers to receive immediate, asynchronous feedback on their VR projects via a web-based dashboard. In this talk, we will cover not only the value that this tool brings to a diverse number of XR creators, but how this hackathon project went from an initial concept to a usable tool over the course of many development iterations and direct involvement from the accessibility community. Register for the talk here. (more…)
Inclusion and Accessibility in XR: Exploring Experiences | Reginé Gilbert
July 19, 2022
This talk will review what inclusion and accessibility mean for extended reality and the metaverse. By examining existing heuristics and researching existing methods for accessibility, the discovery has been made that new principles need to be adopted to create more equitable experiences. We will discuss ongoing research on accessible augmented reality. Register for the talk here. (more…)
Exploring Barriers in XR | Jamie Knight + Lion
May 25, 2022
XR and the metaverse introduces a whole new realm for users to explore; It brings new barriers and opportunities.
The BBC has just published the XR barrier research project to identify some of the most common barriers. In this talk Jamie & Lion share their experiences leading the project and share insights in building XR experiences for audiences anew.
Making Virtual Reality More Accessible for Persons with Balance Impairments | Dr. John Quarles
June 21, 2022
Although consumer level virtual reality (VR) head mounted displays (HMDs) (e.g., HTC Vive) are becoming more prevalent today, these VR developers typically do not consider persons with disabilities, such as persons with balance impairments (e.g., persons with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, or stroke). Thus, many immersive VR applications, such as education, physical fitness, rehabilitation, and entertainment, are not accessible to users with balance impairments. (more…)
Multimedia for Deaf Viewers | Dr. Raja Kushalnagar
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) people have relied on assistive and accessible technologies/services to consume or produce aural information. Some hard-of-hearing people rely on an assistive technology approach to enhance aural information for easier perception and understanding. Other hard of hearing and most deaf people rely on an accessible technology approach to transform the aural information into visual or tactile information for easier perception and understanding. (more…)