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Q&A: Echolocation as a Means for People with Visual Impairment to Explore Virtual Worlds

taught by: Ronny Andrade Parra

Session Summary

Some blind people are known to use echolocation—sound and echo vibrations—to explore the physical environment around them. In this talk, Ronny explores how echolocation can be translated into virtual worlds.


Watch this presentation in the Knowbility Learning Center

Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry, and as virtual and augmented reality experiences become more commonplace, it is important to ensure these experiences are accessible by default. In this talk, Ronny shares findings from his PhD research. First, he discusses some of the habits, opinions and concerns of gamers with visual impairment, then he explains how echolocation—he use of sound and echo vibrations—could be used to mitigate some of these concerns, and finally he discusses some game design ideas elicited from expert echolocators.

Practical Skills

  • Participants will understand the current habits, opinions and concerns of gamers with visual impairment
  • Participants will learn how blind people use echolocation to explore their surroundings
  • Participants will understand how echolocation may be used as a novel interaction technique to support exploration of virtual spaces.