Digital visual interfaces (VIs) have been around since the 1990s, and they’ve been used for a lot of things: movies, games, apps, even games consoles.
But a new generation of VR experiences is on the horizon, and it’s coming with a lot more potential for both visual literacy and visual disability.
While some VR headsets have been designed specifically for the blind, others are aimed at other sensory and motor impairments.
What are the biggest challenges to the future?
We talked to two VR experts about what the future holds, and what they think VR headsets can achieve in the coming years.
R.J. Anderson, senior associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializes in visual communication and visual impairment.
He’s a professor of education and education technology at the school and a senior author on a study about VR for adults and young people.
“The future of VR will be much more immersive, more immersive in that it will be immersive in ways that are really hard to achieve with any other medium,” Anderson told IGN.
“I think it will really open up the way that people with visual disabilities can interact with their surroundings, and that’s not something that’s been available to them before.”
Anderson explained that virtual reality has the potential to be an amazing way to interact with people.
In fact, he thinks that it can be an entirely new medium for communication that is much more accessible and enjoyable than anything else in the world right now.
“I think that there’s a lot to be excited about in the VR space.
The way that VR has been developed, and the way it’s developed in many different ways is really going to open up a whole new way of thinking about and using technology that can really enhance the way we communicate and interact with the world around us,” he said.”VR is going to have an enormous impact on the way people interact with each other and the world.”
Anderson sees VR headsets like the Oculus Rift as being “in some ways a revolution in how we interact with technology.”
He thinks that they’ll open up new communication platforms for visually impaired people, as well as allow for a new level of visual literacy, and an increased level of social engagement.
“It really does open up communication and interaction that is not possible with anything else.
And in many ways, I think VR is the last frontier in this area,” Anderson said.
“The last frontier, I believe, is the first frontier in the field of visual communication, and I think that VR is going be able to be the last big frontier in that.”
Anderson says that VR headsets will provide people with a “sense of freedom and freedom of choice.”
They will also allow people with vision disabilities to use them more effectively.
He also thinks that VR will change the way the media is produced, with more people having access to information.
“A lot of people have been using headsets for quite a while, but I think it’s going to be really, really exciting to see the headsets really get to the point where you have this sense of freedom that the people in the room don’t have,” Anderson added.
“You have this freedom to say ‘Hey, what are these things that are going on in this room, what is happening?’
It’s really about letting people know what is going on, and there is no reason that the world should be telling them what they want to know.”
What are the major barriers to VR headsets?
There are a few major barriers that VR users will need to overcome in order to make it into the mainstream: accessibility.
Currently, there are few headsets that are readily accessible for people with disabilities.
The most accessible headsets include the Oculus DK2 and the Samsung Gear VR, but those devices are quite expensive.
Anderson thinks that the next major barrier to VR will come in the form of price.
“People are going to need to make that leap and really pay attention to price,” he told IGN in 2016.
“There’s a big difference between $40 and $500.
The price difference, in my mind, is going go from a $100 headset to $1,000,” Anderson continued.
“If you are going from $100 to $500, you are probably not going to get any use out of it, and you are likely going to end up with a worse experience than if you were just spending $1.”
If you’re interested in learning more about visual literacy or learning about visual disabilities, Anderson suggests a few resources: The American Association of Visual Educators, the American Association for the Blind, and The National Institute of Vision.