Virtual and Augmented Reality Awareness Tools for Universal Design: Towards Active Preventive Healthcare

Virtual and Augmented Reality Awareness Tools for Universal Design: Towards Active Preventive Healthcare

Luis Pinto Coelho, Idalina Freitas, Dorota Urszula Kaminska, Ricardo Queirós, Anna Laska-Lesniewicz, Grzegorz Zwolinski, Rui Raposo, Mário Vairinhos, Elisabeth T. Pereira, Eric Haamer, Gholamreza Anbarjafari
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8371-5.ch002
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This chapter will be focused on contributing to the increase of universal design competencies of future engineers, educators, and designers through the use of mixed reality technologies, closing the gap between theory and field application of principles, towards a more inclusive world and promoting health and wellbeing for all. The experience of a situation where limitations arise in relation to what is taken for granted is an important experience that leads to a personal knowledge of the difficulties. By the use of simulators, especially virtual (VR) and mixed reality (MR) technologies, it is possible to create such experiences. Training based on MR can prepare future and current professionals for up-to-date requirements of the labor market. In addition, it can ensure that the standards such as barrier-free concepts, broader accessibility, adaptive and assistive technology will be familiar to trainees.
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Universal Design

Trying to mitigate some of the challenges disabled people face, the concept of Universal Design (Mace et al., 1991) have been gaining special importance, especially in the last decade. It has been defined as “…simply a way of designing a building or facility at little or no extra cost so it is both attractive and functional for all people disabled or not.”. Universal design is not a specific field of design practice but rather an approach to design and engineering, a mental reference, a mindset leading to the idea that objects, environments, systems, or services should be planned and idealized as equally accessible and experienced by all persons or at least by the largest number of individuals possible. This attitude has also been explored in accessible design, usable design, barrier-free design, and inclusive design, all adjacent concepts that, despite their normative differences and distinct implications, provide similar ethical guidelines and propose compatible development frameworks.

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