Virtual Reality Project May Give New Wheelchair Users a Confidence Boost
A group of designers made a virtual reality system that lets people push a real wheelchair through a virtual world. Fjord, a design and innovation consulting company, began the system as an “empathy project” with the intent of giving the nondisabled a peek at the world that wheelchair users interact with, before quickly realizing there was a more practical application for the technology.
Anyone who uses a wheelchair can remember how disorienting and difficult it was to navigate the outside world for the first time in a chair. With this VR system, the newly-disabled may soon have a stress-free option to start learning the skills needed to tackle all the obstacles that a normal trek through the city presents to a wheelchair user. Hopefully, when they venture outside of a rehab setting for the first time, they can do so with some confidence.
The design team was inspired to begin their project after watching When I Walk, the film by documentarian, accessibility innovator and New Mobility’s 2014 Person of the Year, Jason DaSilva.
Check out this two-and-a-half-minute video on this cool emerging technology. And keep doing what you do Jason, you never know what ripples your work is going to create.