Towards Interactive Virtual Environments through Handheld Devices for the Disabled: A Performance-Evaluation Perspective

Towards Interactive Virtual Environments through Handheld Devices for the Disabled: A Performance-Evaluation Perspective

Fotios Spyridonis (Brunel University, UK), Gheorghita Ghinea (Brunel University, UK), Tor-Morten Grønli (The Norwegian School of Information Technology, Norway) and Jarle Hansen (Brunel University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4546-2.ch013


The successful integration of novel interactive virtual environments for everyday life applications may constitute an important indication towards similarly employing Virtual Reality (VR)-related technologies in primary care. This chapter presents the results of a usability study that makes use of an Android-based handheld device for investigating disabled users' performance in using an intuitive interactive VR interface for pain assessment. A convenience sample of seven wheelchair users was asked to evaluate the interface and involved the use of non-participant direct observation, note taking, and thinking-aloud protocol to collect the necessary data. The evaluation results demonstrated good acceptance and a generally positive performance of the participants when they completed a set of predefined interaction tasks. It is anticipated that the findings of this study may have good practical implications to the assessment of pain and could open the way for increasing the use of such technologies in everyday healthcare provision.
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2. Mobile Virtual Reality In Everyday Life

The application of VR technology on mobile devices for everyday services is not a recent trend. Researchers have been studying the implications of mobile VR technological solutions on a wide range of fields, with findings suggesting a high level of viability and acceptance. Indeed, mobile VR has introduced a new approach to providing intuitive services within a variety of settings.

Perhaps one of the most popular application areas is the employment of these technologies within highly mobile contexts such as traveling and touring. A particularly interesting example is the investigation of Chittaro and Burigat (2004) into how tourists could retrieve building information within a location-aware 3-D environment. From a different perspective, to support tourist navigation, Laakso et al. (2003) have designed a mobile application called ‘TellMarisGuide’ to provide tourists with a 3-D environment to navigate, explore and obtain information from a city the tourist is visiting. Similar prototype solutions have been also proposed for indoor tourist activities, with an interesting example coming from Chou et al. (2004) who designed a virtual museum application that allows a mobile user to take virtual museum tours.

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