Dr Michael Crabb

Project Title: Accessible Reality: Augmented Reality Interaction Techniques with Accessibility at its Core

Augmented reality is becoming a mainstream technology with $1.5 billion being invested in AR development for 2016 alone. However, it is unclear to what degree this new technology can be used by all members of society as clear accessibility challenges exist to fully engage in an immersive AR experience. How can people with visual impairments explore virtual worlds if they are unable to fully see the world around them? How can users with physical impairments interact with virtual objects if they struggle to hold a device that this virtual object can be seen though?

This work investigated the accessibility of augmented reality and focused on carrying out user-centred research to understand the accessibility challenges that exist. We worked with representative users (i.e. those facing accessibility challenges in their daily life) and with technology designers/developers in order to fully investigate the challenges that exist. This meant that we had the opportunity to discuss the challenges that are faced by people when taking part in technology experiences, but also to discuss the challenges that exist in making these experiences accessible by people that design and create applications.

In our work we found out that there are still a large number of challenges in the creation and design of accessible software, but that software developers and designers are very keen to create new technology experiences that are accessible to all. We were able to determine challenges that exist in creating accessible AR applications and developed solutions to these challenges that focused on creating better links between software developers and end users. We also showed that new challenges exist due to the technology itself, and that some of the solutions to past accessibility challenges can now be used to create better augmented reality applications for everyone.

Awarded: Research Incentive Grant

Field: Computer Engineering

University: University of Dundee

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