Microsoft has come up with a tool kit for Unity VR developers that helps to solve the issues of players with vision impairment problems. Virtual reality games can be breathtaking, but not if you have a low vision, but with the SeeingVR tool developed by Microsoft, even people with vision problems can enjoy VR to the fullest.
The problem of vision impairment can vary from individual to individual and hence the development team from Microsoft has provided options for the players to customize the experience accordingly to experience complete entertainment. The tool kit comprises a set of 14 tools that includes a bifocal lens, magnifier, option to adjust to contrast and brightness, depth measurement tools along with edge enhancement technology. Players also have the option to have the scenes appearing before them loudly to enable them to understand the scene clearly.
The Microsoft team partnered with Cornell University and Cornell Tech to create this new tool kit for Unity VR developers. The toolkit also includes an object highlight tool that allows people with vision problems to identify the object clearly along with configurable text that allows you to change the font color, size, and boldness according to your requirements. The SeeingVR toolkit developed by Microsoft also comes with a lot of audio enhancement tools like text-to-speech, object descriptions in loud sound that can be both AI and human-assisted. The toolkit can also be integrated with other mobile apps like Seeing AI and VizWiz.
According to the research paper released by the development team, it states that it has provided various options for the users to combine various tools and adjust the VR experience according to their requirements. The research team conducted the test on eleven participants with vision problems and at the end of the research, the team concluded the fact that the participants could enjoy a much better VR experience than before.
It is estimated that more than 200 million people across the world are affected with low vision and the SeeingVR toolkit from Microsoft could largely create a big difference for those people in using Virtual Reality.
SeeingVR Tool Kit – Is a Set of 14 Different Tools
SeeingVR comes with a set of totally 14 different tools that allow people with vision problems to customize the VR experience according to their experience. Out of these 14 tools, 9 tools can be used as it is without the support of anyone, whereas to make use of the other 5 tools you need to get some support to use them.
One of the tools in the tool kit is the magnification lens that allows the users to see a magnified view by 10 times than the original. It looks like the Accessibility tool available in the Windows OS that helps you to magnify things.
Another tool provided in the kit that helps in magnifying the area in the bottom of the users’ vision and look similar to real bifocal glasses.
Some people are susceptible to increased brightness and this tool allows the users to adjust the brightness level accordingly. Users can adjust the level from 50% up to a maximum of 500%.
Much like the brightness lens, the contrast lens enables the users to adjust the contrast levels accordingly from a scale of 1-10.
Edge Enhancement Tool
This tool allows users to detect the visible edges and enhance it accordingly.
People without a clear peripheral vision can largely benefit from this tool as it utilizes the same kind of edge detection techniques in the edge enhancement tool and creates an overlay in the middle of the field of view.
The text augmentation tool allows the users to change the font size and change the color from black to white and vice versa. They can even change the font to Arial font which is universally regarded as the most readable font.
Text to Speech
A simple text to speech tool that allows users to point at a specific text and it will be read aloud with the help of speech synthesis technology.
People having depth perception problems can make use of this tool to measure the distance using a laser pointer.
The object recognition tool helps in reading the description of the virtual objects in the screen for users to easily identify them.
People with a low vision often find it difficult to identify objects and the highlighter tool creates a visual highlight around the objects enabling the user to easily identify the object and easily find a way through the game.
This is much like an add-on tool to the Highlight tool as it draws a guideline or arrows pointing towards the arrows if the user is not looking at them.
People with severe vision issues can make use of this tool to recolor the scene entirely in a color that allows them to see it clearly.