After receiving a grant from Facebook, researchers at BCU are now investigating the opportunities around AR/VR to support disabled people.
Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) holds significant potential to transform how we work, learn, and engage with others. However, there has been a lack of work exploring the challenges associated with these technologies for disabled people.
In particular, it is unclear the extent to which significant future uptake of this technology across the wider population could have a negative impact and further exacerbate the digital divide.
As such, there is an urgent need to understand the potential of these technologies to both support disabled people, but also to investigate the wider implications around the proliferation of AR and VR.
To address the lack of work in this area, researchers at BCU have been awarded a Facebook grant to investigate the opportunities around AR/VR to support disabled people, such as those across the spectrum of visual, physical, auditory, and cognitive impairments.
The project involves leading a series of multidisciplinary sandpits with international experts and key stakeholders (such as disabled people, academic/industry experts, representatives from national charities, special needs colleges/schools, disability employment specialists, disability arts organisations) to collaboratively develop a research agenda of priority areas for the short-medium term (to accelerate innovation in this area).
The expected project outcomes include:
- A clear research agenda for industry, academia, and other invested organisations to accelerate activity across identified priority areas;
- A deep understanding of key requirements, concerns, and opportunities of AR/VR technology across a range of impairments/disabilities and sectors;
- A multi-disciplinary network of stakeholders/partners keen to collaboratively address the research challenges identified.
How will the research be carried out?
The project is currently ongoing and the team plan to publish early research findings in the near future.