AT Tools in Virtual Reality

A row of people wearing VR headsets.

A couple months ago we started talking about some of the ways in which Virtual Reality (VR) can be used as AT. Today we’re going to take things even further and look at specific areas of difficulty that these apps might address, as well as making specific app recommendations. And while there are a few competing VR devices on the market, the Metaquest 3 is the most popular VR device available right now, and the apps that we are looking at today are all compatible with the Metaquest 3 headset.

The great thing about these apps is that they provide persons with disabilities with alternative means of access to the internet as well as providing alternatives to studying, socializing, meditating, traveling, and more. In short, VR allows individuals who are challenged by a wide variety of disabilities to have experiences that would otherwise be out of reach.

Let’s take a look at some of the VR experiences that are currently available online:

Social Interactions – Some of the most popular VR experiences around right now are essentially VR-based chat rooms, where users can chat with each other via digital avatar all while exploring the often intricately designed VR chat world. And while VR Chat is by far the most popular chat experience, Rec room offers a more gaming-focused experience that still encourages lots of chatting and socialization.

Best Chat App: VR Chat

Best Social App: Rec Room

Mindfulness and Exercise – When you’re in a wheelchair or face similarly restrictive physical disabilities, maintaining your physical self (not to mention your mental health) is especially difficult. Thankfully there is no shortage of VR apps designed to help you move your body as well as to practice mindfulness.

Best Exercise App: Beat Saber

Best App for Mindfulness: Kayak VR: Mirage

A screenshot of Kayak VR Mirage gameplay showing a first-person view of riding a kayak.

Pictured Above: Kayak VR Mirage Gameplay

Education – Educational games within the VR environment are becoming more and more common, and there’s some very exciting advances in VR Education that are worth mentioning.

Best VR Language App: ImmerseMe

Best Language Experience App: Mondly VR

Best VR Math App: Math World VR

Virtual Experiences – The ability to experience the world without leaving the house is one of the biggest hallmarks of VR technology. And for people who struggle with social anxiety, being able to virtually explore their world safely is one of most attractive aspects of VR Technology. These apps can really help alleviate the stresses associated with trying new experiences, and there is no shortage of incredible virtual experiences being offered right now.

Most Educational Experience: Google Expeditions

Most Helpful Real-Life Simulator: Job Interview Simulator

This post originally appeared on the AT Help Desk website.

Tags: apps, assistive technology, AT HelpDesk, Atlantic Regional Office

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