SeeingVR, a New Toolkit from Microsoft will improve the Virtual Reality Experience for People with Low Vision

Microsoft is making virtual reality (VR) friendlier for the people with vision impairment. Researchers at Microsoft have come up with a tool kit for Unity VR developers in order to help players who have low vision.

Every person has its own vision preferences, therefore a tool kit has been worked on by the researcher so each player can customize it to their convenience. The kit has 14 tools consisting of magnifier, bifocal lens, edge enhancement, depth measurement and controls that let players adjust the brightness and contrast level. It also facilitates players by providing an option that will describe the objects in a scene or read it aloud.

In a testing process, 11 people with a vision problem were asked to use SeeingVR, a new toolkit. This resulted in participants completing their tasks quickly using the toolkit rather than with the default mode. The kit is accessible to Unity VR developers only, but because it is the biggest VR development platform, the technology is likely to be widely adopted by the public soon.

Paper titled as "SeeingVR: A Set of Tools to Make Virtual Reality More Accessible to People with Low Vision" is a joint effort of Microsoft Researchers Ed Cutrell, Christian Holz, Eyal Ofek, Andrew Wilson and Meredith Ringel Morris, whose results with be presented by Microsoft intern Yuhang Zhao at the CHI the conference, to be held this year in Glasgow.
"Our testing with 10 popular VR apps demonstrated the robustness of our plugin, while the study with six developers showed our Unity toolkit was easy to use. While SeeingVR focused on low vision, we hope our work can inspire the design of general accessibility standards for VR.", explained the report.
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