The Quest for Accessible VR

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While at an Independent Living Center Leadership meeting, Larry Grable, Executive Director of Service Center for Independent Life (SCIL) in Claremont, shared about his and his staff’s experiences using his Oculus Quest 2. He brought his Oculus in to see how some of his staff with low-vision would interact with it, and talked enthusiastically about a Systems Change Advocate on his staff named LaKenya Pitchford. The Ability Tools staff were immediately intrigued with this new instance of technology and disability cross-sectioning and reached out to LaKenya to learn more. She was wonderful enough to write the following blog to share with our Where it’s AT readers:

A display of an Oculus headset in a store. The Where it's AT logo is situated above the text. Text reads: The Quest for Accessible VR - My experience with an Oculus Quest 2 -

“… I didn’t think Virtual Reality was for me, but now I can say having low vision didn’t stop me from enjoying this piece of technology.”

The day I used the Oculus for the first time changed my life.
Three weeks ago my boss brought his Oculus Quest 2 into the office to see if a person like me with low vision can experience Virtual Reality. When I put the headset on I was amazed that I was able to see what was going on in the Oculus headset. It was like I was in a whole new world. I inquired about the how the Oculus is structured and what you do on the VR system. I was so intrigued that I actually went back to my desk and purchased a Oculus for myself.

I have to say that as a person with low vision, purchasing the Oculus was beyond my wildest dream. My experience with the Oculus Quest 2 was amazing. Setting up the VR was not too difficult. I did get a little help with the initial set up for calibration purposes, but once I was done with the set up, navigating through the system was quite easy. You don’t get the full effect the Oculus until after you do the set up.

“The day I used the Oculus for the first time changed my life.”

Having the headset on really takes you into a different world. I was able to navigate to the app store and download apps, view videos for games and apps. I was like you are apart the video or game. Well technically you are a part of the game or app. Your entire surroundings filled with virtual reality. To me, it’s like you step out of the room you are standing/sitting in and step into something totally different and interactive, using the controls to move through, navigate in and interact with the activities in the headset.

One of the cool things to do on the Oculus is riding a roller Coaster. Wow, it’s like you are there sitting in a roller coaster. You get to experience the twist and turns of the roller coaster and also view wonderful sites while you are riding. It’s not just looking straight ahead that you see the virtual theme roller coaster but all around you. You can turn your head in any direction and see the virtual world.

“Wow, it’s like you are there sitting in a roller coaster.””

I am able to work out on the oculus, using an app called “Supernatural” which helped me tremendously in not only in getting some exercise in but also meditation. I am working out with a training and I get to choose what level of workout I want using the controllers to hit targets and doing squats while listening to music of a variety of genres and a plethora of locations like New Zealand and Mexico. I am able to enjoy a workout without worrying if I am able to see what’s going on.

I couldn’t believe how I was about to see and navigate through the Oculus system. There is so many things that I am exploring on the Oculus that I didn’t know that I would be able to do because my low vision like games and apps I didn’t think Virtual Reality was for me, but now I can say having low vision didn’t stop me from enjoying this piece of technology.

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