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Covid-19 safety delivered via virtual reality for Waterford children and those with ASD

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Covid-19 safety delivered via virtual reality for Waterford children and those with ASD

Covid-19 safety delivered via virtual reality for Waterford children and those with ASD

The virtual and augmented reality team in TSSG at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) have combined visual and kinaesthetic learning tools to raise awareness of Covid-19.

Aimed at children aged eight and up, this interactive experience is also ASD friendly and can be used as a tool to educate children in a fun and engaging environment.

Using the HSE Covid-19 safety guidelines, this informative and interactive experience demonstrates how to effectively wash hands using a sequence of cards and how to successfully practice social distancing in a supermarket or retail environment.

This informative experience is just one of many projects the virtual and augmented reality team in TSSG are developing, explains technical lead of the virtual reality team Ian Mills. “We are very excited to return to the office and finalise the mixed reality lab as it will open up new possibilities for cutting-edge research across a number of domains such as health and education,” Mills continues.

Ian Mills is the technical lead of the virtual reality team at TSSG

The virtual and augmented reality team were successful in an Enterprise Ireland funding call last year to develop a mixed reality lab in TSSG. However, due to Covid-19 the finishing touches have been put on hold. Rather than allow the new equipment to go unused, the team utilised the materials in their respective homes and came together online to create this learning tool.

The equipment in the mixed reality lab will be used to advance research in current research projects including the benefits of virtual reality for people with ASD, how virtual reality experiences can give more accurate results in consumer experiences, how virtual reality can improve learning and development training in companies, and the use of augmented reality in retail and tourism to enhance customers experience. The latter two are becoming more relevant in the current pandemic.

Technology Gateway manager Miguel Ponce de Leon invites companies who might have a concept, prototype or product to contact TSSG about further development and testing in the lab. “We have been approached by a number of companies in the past who need access to specialised equipment for testing and validation, but the facilities just didn’t exist. We are delighted that our mixed reality lab will be available to companies of all sizes to access and reap the benefits of the equipment when it is safe to do so,” he continues.

To access this virtual experience, users require an Oculus Quest with Oculus Touch controllers, which are available online. Download the VR experience from SideQuest.