It is very crowded in Hong Kong. So it is always a challenge for wheelchair users to march into bus and elevator. Our solution try to help this situation. The users would get practices with our VR simulator so they would have less fear when they face the real case. We corporate with Hong Kong Hospital Authority to make this VR training for therapy.
What it does
The current simulator contains two modes. One is training mode and the other one is assessment mode. Users would try the training mode first and accumulate experience. After some practices, users would try assessment mode to track their performance such as the time required to get into and park wheelchair in the bus and the total number of collisions with the environment.
At the meantime, users would use electric wheelchair joystick to control the wheelchair movement. This greatly enhances the VR experience.
The users would also view the reply for their control during assessment so they would know how to improve in the future.
How We Built It
We mostly use Unity Game Engine to make the real-time physics and VR graphic rendering. We also use Blender for making the 3D models and animations such as wheelchair moving and buses.
We also use laser scanning for getting the real scale of the internal bus. So we would ensure the simulator provide the most realistic experience for the users.
Challenges We Ran Into
Unity provides a mature real-time physics system. However, most examples talk about the physics for car or other vehicles So we need to figure out how to make a wheelchair movement physics which are similar to real life. We see a lot of Youtube movies and even try the real wheelchair. Finally we customise the scripts of wheel colliders system provided by Unity to get the acceptable result. But it still has a lot of space for improvement.
As we have implemented the wheelchair movement physics and control system. We would extend the scenarios to more cases such as travelling with Mass Transit Railway and shopping in supermarket. We also hope to let more people to try this VR simulator. Even though they may not need to use wheelchair in their daily life. But they would experience the wheelchair users' view and understand each other more.