i3 - May/June 2020 - 12

Tech

By Dave Wilson

PIPE LINE

CTA Developing
an XR
Standard
to Help
Seniors
Stay in
Touch

XR platforms address accessibility to
some degree, though much of the work
has been aimed at people who are visually impaired. For example, Microsoft
created SeeingVR, a set of tools for the
Unity platform that can make virtual
reality more accessible for people
with low vision. Microsoft also created Canetroller, a haptic cane controller that simulates white cane
interactions, enabling people with
visual impairments to navigate a virtual environment by transferring their
cane skills into the virtual world.

Making XR Systems Accessible

Making XR accessible to those with
limited mobility sometimes could be
simple. For example, a game that works
with a hand controller when played on
a TV screen but with body movements
when played with a VR headset, might
be made accessible by simply not locking out the hand controller when the
headset is used.
"CTA's AR/VR committee and its
Limited Mobility Working Group aim
to focus on the unique issues faced by
XR system users who have limited
TA's AR/VR standards committee is now working on a
mobility," said Timothy Porter, chief
set of best practices for developing XR technology for
technology officer, Mod Tech Labs and
users with limited mobility. "XR" is a generic term
chair of the working group. "We'll be
meaning augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). The
looking at the capabilities of game
goal is to make XR platforms easier to use for seniors and others. engines like Unity, Unreal, and
Lumberyard, and the
capabilities of software
The best practices will focus on how
systems by making
development kits like
software developers and equipment
hand or arm motions.
manufacturers can ensure people with
If your ability to
In some situations, Vuphoria, ARKit and
Arcore. Most of these
limited mobility can enjoy their prodmove your hands or
making an XR
have some capabilities
ucts to the fullest. Some people with
arms is limited, then
system accessible when it comes to
limited mobility have difficulty getting
you might not be able
to someone with
accommodating people
the most out of their XR systems, or
to control an XR syswith disabilities. Our
sometimes even using the systems at all.
tem that requires this
limited mobility
aim is to offer guidance
There are various reasons for this.
kind of motion.
might be simple.
to software developers
Also, some XR
working with these and
content expects the
Recognizing the Challenges
other systems - guiduser to be standing
A primary feature of XR technology is
ance that will help them build products
and to be able to make lateral movethe ability to move your head to get an
that keep people with limited mobility
ments that a person with full mobility
immersive view of things all around you.
in mind."
could make. If the user is in a wheelBut if you can't move your head or you
This working group has just started to
can only move it to a limited extent, you'll chair it can be difficult to make these
meet. Participation is open to anyone
movements and challenging to set up
miss out on much of this experience.
(except media). If you'd like to join the
the system in the first place if the sysAnother challenge faced by some is
effort, please contact Alexandra Blasgen,
tem doesn't anticipate the user might
the ability to control their XR experiablasgen@CTA.tech.
be sitting.
ences. Often, people control their XR
12

MAY/JUNE 2020

i3_0520_Tech_Pipeline.indd 12

Tariq Kizilkaya/Getty Image

C

I T I S I N N O VAT I O N

5/7/20 11:26 AM



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