Virtual reality technology offers many benefits and opportunities to explore. Especially in healthcare, this technology will make a big impact sooner or later. It now seems VR technology can also help blind people explore new locations and get used to crossing the road. All it takes is a new type of walking cane simulating the feeling of real objects. It is a rather interesting development that will bring more positive attention to this nascent industry.
Using VR to Help the Visually Impaired
One would hardly consider virtual reality to be a valuable technology for those who lost their sight. Interestingly enough, there is a lot of merit to this concept, according to Microsoft. One of their coworkers introduced a new walking cane which can simulate the feeling of real objects. As such, the visually impaired can explore digital simulations to get used to their new way of life without risking life and limb in the real world.
Even though most people will still struggle to deal with losing their sight, this VR simulation can effectively alleviate some of the concerns. As one would expect from such an immersive walking cane, it needs to be swept around the room to determine whether or not the user would effectively hit an object. If that is indeed the case, they will receive some form of feedback to let them know an object is present.
The walking cane acts like a sort of VR controller, as it doesn’t resemble a more traditional walking cane whatsoever, Instead, it has several sensors embedded to discover objects in virtual reality. While this simulation helps with walking around homes or public places, the team also wants to address one of the bigger problems: crossing the road. Learning to cross a road after losing your sight takes months of practice, if not longer. It is a frustrating experience first and foremost, yet with VR, it can be done in a safe and secure environment.
The big question is whether or not this new project will effectively succeed. Although it has been proven to be useful for the visually impaired, using it on a large scale is something else entirely. It’s good to see people come up with actual use cases for VR other than entertainment purposes, though. If this technology is to take off, it will need to get into the hands of as many consumers as possible Bringing positive attention to the possibilities is one way of doing so.
If you liked this article make sure to follow us on twitter @thevrbase and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest VR trends and news.