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WalkinVR: Virtual Reality Controller for Disabled

Author: Grzegorz Bednarski(i) : Contact: walkinvrdriver.com

Published: 2017-04-04 : (Rev. 2018-05-01)

Synopsis:

WalkinVR lets people with disabilities control all virtual reality movements using just the vr controller and its buttons.

Main Digest

What is WalkinVR?

WalkinVR is a product for Virtual Reality dedicated to applications and games on the SteamVR platform from Valve - where you need to use virtual headset and virtual hand controllers for gameplay. In the virtual space, movements in the physical world are translated to virtual reality by headset and controllers.

However, limitation in the physical world is also translated to limitation in the virtual world, and here is where WalkinVR comes into play as it lets people control all their movements using just the controller and its buttons.

The second important feature of WalkinVR is a virtual controller that allows people with only one hand to play games by providing a virtual controller and various modes of how it can be used.

WalkinVR does not require adjusting either the game or application settings but simply gives disabled people the ability to move freely - that's the innovative approach.

People with leg disability can move in virtual space on both the horizontal and vertical axis by pressing a button on the controller and moving one of the two controllers.

In the case of a one-handed person it works in a slightly different way. First, you need to virtually clone one available controller and attach it in an arbitrary location and then you can control its movements using your head independently. You can see on the video how well it works, even in the Serious Sam game where you need to shoot with each controller to different targets.

It is important to mention that WalkinVR can have many more modes of work. This might depend on how a game works and on player's abilities.

It also depends on user's feedback. I received one question, if it's possible to control rotation with external pedals - of course it is!

Video Clip: WalkinVR Demo 1

WalkinVR allows people with disabilities to use virtual reality from a wheelchair or in bed
https://www.youtube.com/embed/KCLSyhUmQ0M

What is the Story of WalkinVR?

All this began with my ad hoc development for kids and it was for fun. At one point in virtual reality I needed to pick something up from the ground and did it with controller which usually requires me to bend and rotate. Then I realized that such simple movement is not so simple for person in a wheelchair, not to mention someone in a bed. In summary - it's thanks to kids and fun why WalkinVR was created. It is an independent product that supports HTC Vive, Oculus and is ready to support other virtual reality sets.

Video Clip: WalkinVR Demo 2

WalkinVR also allows people with one arm to use virtual reality.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/D4y_Bb3UZ1I

What is the Status of the Project?

Project is currently in Alpha testing. There are many volunteers all over the world helping with it. I also use equipment from https://www.vrglobal.com/ which allows me to use it for detailed testing. First release is planned for the end of May.

News so far:

After first publication I received several inquiries from organizations working with disabled people. In April I will have two local workshops (one from a university and a commercial one) showing new ways for the disabled to benefit from virtual reality.

What are your plans?

Feedback from users is what I am most interested in right now so I am spending a lot of time on Alpha testing hoping to move to Beta soon. In long term, I would like to be a leader in this niche and provide access to WalkinVR to all schools and organizations that have purchased virtual reality equipment. I hope that people with disabilities will be able to enjoy the benefits of this technology in virtual reality on the same level that people without such boundaries do. For further information please visit: www.walkinvrdriver.com

(i)Source/Reference: Grzegorz Bednarski. Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

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