A virtual reality tool has been created to help designers improve buildings and public transport for people with sight loss.
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) statistics suggest that more than two million people in the UK are affected by sight loss, and by 2050, this will double to nearly four million. Findings from the RNIB’s 2015 ‘My Voice’ survey revealed that 40% of blind and partially-sighted people were not able to make all the journeys they wanted or needed to because of a lack of accessibility.
The smartphone app – Eyeware - launched in March 2017, allows users to experience the world around them from the viewpoint of people with a range of different sight loss conditions. Eyeware was developed in collaboration with RNIB and applies virtual filters over the surrounding environment which mimic sight loss conditions in real time.
Users can experience simulations of diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, cataracts and glaucoma.
The filters are being used at the Transport Systems Catapult to help design accessible transport systems at the organisation’s ‘Visualisation Laboratory’. This unique facility is designed to help industry develop virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications.
Project leader Martin Pett, Principle Technologist at the Transport Systems Catapult, said; “Urban environments like stations and new technology, can be confusing for anyone, but the difficulties this causes can be increased 10-fold when someone is blind or partially sighted. Our app allows users to put themselves in the shoes of people with sight loss conditions, so they can make better decisions about accessibility. Not only are we aiming to raise awareness of these disabilities, but our app will also have practical applications. For instance, we are helping architects design stations that are easily navigable for people with sight loss and looking at ways to make self-driving cars more accessible.”
The app is available to the public as an educational tool to help increase awareness of eye conditions. It is available for download from the Apple store and Google Play store. You can find more here.
Images and content courtesy of Catapult.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Accessibility in the built environment.
- Artificial intelligence and civil engineering.
- Augmented reality in construction.
- Caution Cinema.
- Gravity Sketch.
- Guide Dogs' Inclusivity campaign.
- Immersive Hybrid Reality IHR.
- People with disabilities.
- The Palimpsest.
- Virtual construction model.
- Virtual reality and manufacturing.
Featured articles and news
We interviewed CEO Andrew Carpenter about the rising popularity of timber, Grenfell, the future of 'plyscrapers', and more.
Can you pump heavyweight concrete through 500 m of 125 mm pipeline? Andrew Turner discusses the challenges at Crossrail.
DRAFT technical manual for BREEAM UK Non-domestic New Construction 2018 manual open to comments.
What is a certificate of non completion? Find out with this introductory article.
Read about the launch event for our major new report about the worrying and widening construction knowledge gap.
We've analysed 6 million pieces of data to reveal that the knowledge framework underpinning the construction industry is no longer fit for purpose.
Retrofitting traditional buildings depends on understanding how they differ from modern construction.
The theme for BSRIA's 2017 Briefing is 'Solutions to Tomorrow’s Challenges in Today’s Buildings'.
Dealing more than 1,700 consultations was just one of last year’s tasks for the Gardens Trust.
Read about the history behind one of California's most iconic buildings, the Griffith Observatory.
ICE examine just how close we are to providing subsidy-free low carbon electricity.
Have a look at MAD Architects' design proposal for renovating Montparnasse Tower into a concave mirror.