Research Network2021-09-22T15:57:17+00:00

XR Access Research Network

The XR Access Research Network fosters a diverse community of researchers pursuing academic-style research across fields and disciplines which have a shared interest in making XR technologies accessible, enabling innovative research, new collaborations, resource-sharing, and translational impact.

The XR Access Research Network aims to foster academic-style research across fields and disciplines, with a shared interest in making XR technologies accessible, enabling innovative research, new collaborations, resource-sharing, and translational impact.

The Research Network will organize regular seminars and conversations, support emerging researchers at the undergraduate and graduate levels, create networking and collaboration opportunities among research groups and between academia and industry. We’re hoping to launch the Research Network seminar in Fall 2021. Watch this space for further updates about Research Network activities.

If you’d like to participate as a partner in the Research Network, we’d love to hear from you! You can get in touch with us via email at

Upcoming Research Seminars

All are welcome to register for the XR Access Research Network’s Seminar Series.

head with a book illustrating knowledge

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 | 4pm ET

AI and New Abilities: Video Games for Blind Players

Dr. Brian Smith

Assistant Professor, Columbia University Department of Computer Science
Director, Computer-Aided Abilities Laboratory

About the Talk: We often think of AI as giving computers new abilities, but there is tremendous potential for AI to give people new abilities as well. In this talk, I will show how AI can be used to power assistive technologies — specifically, how to make it possible for people who are blind to play video games, including evaluating and navigating virtual worlds. The event will include time for Q&A with Brian.

Talk Details: Held on Zoom, Wednesday, September 29 2021 at 4:00pm ET. Automatic captioning will be provided. If you will need any other accommodation in order to participate, please contact Jessie at by September 27th. The talk will be recorded.

Register for the XR Access Research Seminar with Dr. Brian Smith

Research Network Projects

Virtual Showdown

VR games are becoming common, but people with visual impairments are frequently left out of the fun. Some prior work has explored including audio cues as an accompaniment to visual VR experiences, while developers of accessible games have created audio-only versions of popular games for people with visual impairments. However, there’s very little academic research on accessible VR games, pointing to an opportunity to explore how to convey information about moving objects, and how to teach players who may never have played a non-virtual version of a game how to interact with virtual objects. Dr. Kyle Rector and her [...]

AR Navigation

Navigating stairs can be a dangerous mobility challenge for people with low vision. Inadequate handrails, poorly marked steps, and other obstacles can reduce mobility and lead to accidents. While past research has proposed audio stair-navigation aids for blind people, no research on people with low vision has yet addressed this challenge. Cornell Tech PhD student Yuhang Zhao, along with Cx faculty member Shiri Azenkot and other researchers from Cornell Tech and Columbia University, built on this research to design several AR navigation systems for people with low vision. They tested both projection-based and optical see-through smart glasses systems [...]

Interactive 3D Models

Cornell Tech PhD student Lei Shi, faculty member Shiri Azenkot, and their collaborators are studying how to design educational 3D models for students with visual impairments. The researchers interviewed teachers of the visually impaired about the needs of their students, and demonstrated previously designed 3D-printed interactive models and computer vision-based educational tools. Based on interview results, they designed an augmented reality (AR) app that pairs with a 3D printed model. The model’s tactile features help students learn the physical features of a concept, while visual and audio cues from the AR app provide additional information. The study’s results [...]