Virtual reality used for blind to map real world

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Virtual reality used for blind to map real world

Post  Admin on Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:45 am


Virtual reality can let video game players escape from the real world but a group of researchers are using virtual reality to help the blind join the real world more, by navigating real places. Researchers at the University of Chile and Harvard Medical School are using three audio-based PC games that allow players to navigate a labyrinth, a subway system and real-world buildings based on audio cues. "Essentially the games work by interpreting information generated by spectral sounds like footsteps and door knocks," said Lotfi B. Merabet, PhD of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. "The player uses a keyboard to move and interact with the virtual world. By sequentially interacting within the virtual 3-D environment, the user learns to build a spatial cognitive map of their surroundings." The goal was to develop audio-based gaming to help blind children develop spatial, cognitive and social skills. "We've concentrated on developing the gaming software as a rehabilitation tool to allow blind users to survey unfamiliar buildings before actually navigating through them in real life, as well as conducting brain imaging studies to uncover how the brain of a blind individual accomplishes this task," said Merabet
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