Enhancement of a Virtual Reality Wheelchair Simulator to Include Qualitative and Quantitative Performance MetricsBy Harrison, C.S.; Grant, P.M.; Conway, B.A.; Assistive Technology, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 20-31
Publication Date: March 2010
Paper outlines the development of a virtual reality (VR) wheelchair simulator that offers architects, building designers, and users a physical sensation of how a planned development would be experienced. The VR system was designed to meet a need following the establishment in the United Kingdom of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), in particular its guidelines for wheelchair access. The VR wheelchair simulator consists of a motion platform and associated electromechanical devices, a graphics system generating the virtual environment, and control and communications software linking the previous two elements. The platform accommodates a wheelchair up to 0.91 meters in width. Data gathered from the use of the system can be classified as experiential, statistical, or physiological, as the system also logs all interactions between the user, the wheelchair, and the environment. In addition, a means of calculating the energy expenditure required to navigate over and around features in the environment can be provided based on heartbeats per minute logged by the system via ECG electrodes attached to the user. Development of the system was aided by a trial using 15 experienced wheelchair users who rated the various features of the simulated environment following navigation around the VR model. This was augmented by some preliminary work with three non-wheelchair users in order to test the concept.
Published by: Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) (Website:http://www.resna.org)
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