Harnessing Virtual Reality Games for Disability Awareness

Seed Funding Project Lead Investigator

Dr Veronica Zixi Jiang School of Marketing, UNSW Business School.

Research Team

Dr Songting Dong School of Marketing; Professor Shan-Ling Pan and Dr Yenni Tim School of Information System; and Dr Andrew Yip iCinema Centre for Interactive Cinema Research.

Project Background

Australia has 4.3 million people with disability in 2015, and most of them depend on carers for their non-medical needs of assistance such as transportation and house chores. People with disability and their carers would receive great benefits if their neighbours and local community can help with these non-medical needs. One major obstacle for community people to help is their lack of understanding of people with disability. Understanding others is essential for social interaction. One effective strategy is perspective-taking.

Project Aim

We propose that virtual reality (VR) games can help people to understand people with disability by increasing perspective-taking. We plan to create a VR game based on the life experiences of people with disability and their carers in a co-creation process. Perspective-taking involves active consideration of another person’s viewpoints.

Interdisciplinary research collaboration and partnership building

This project utilises a co-creation process during which people with disability and their carers are engaged as experts and their contributions are essential throughout the project. The researchers involved are from differing academic backgrounds. Dr. Jiang and Dr. Dong are from School of marketing, and Prof. Shan and Dr. Tim are from School of Information System: four of us are in the interdisciplinary Digital Enablement Research Network (DERN). Dr. Yip is an expert in designing virtual reality games, and one of his recent works is the current exhibition of Henry VR at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Many local governments have Disability Inclusion Action Plans that aim to help people with disability and we plan to present our VR game prototype and its effects to these local councils and engage more local people to offer help to people with disability in their areas. We plan to apply for ARC Discovery Project funding and also to submit the project outcomes to journals in the field of disability and distribute the outcomes via UNSW Media and UNSW Business Knowledge.

Contact

Email: Dr Veronica Zixi Jiang Lead Investigator veronica.jiang@unsw.edu.au

Harnessing Virtual Reality Games for Disability Awareness