Immersive Technology: Accessibility In Mind

wAVE Digital Project Administrator Apprentice, Ellie Smith, talks about voice control, day-to-day immersive technology, accessibility and virtual reality in her latest blog. Scroll down to read more on what she has to say.

If, like me, you’ve gone to the park in the pouring rain with your Pokémon Go app to catch Pikachu, or asked Alexa to play Beyoncé while you’re getting ready for work, then you’re one of the billions of people who use immersive technology everyday.

Now, as we welcome a new decade, the potential for immersive tech continues to grow. Bossing a digital voice assistant like Alexa around can make some of life’s small nuisances easier for an able-bodied person; mumbling “Alexa, turn the lights off,” when you’re too cosy to get out of bed or telling Google to put The Great British Bake Off on when you can’t find the remote for example! It’s estimated that 8 billion digital voice assistants will be in use by 2023. Clearly voice user interface (VUI) technology is going to become an increasingly commonplace part of many people’s lives.

What this really means is that people can now use their voice to control computers instead of a mouse or touch screen. A whole world of digital interaction is opened up to people with visual impairments and physical disabilities. Chatbots are, quite literally, opening doors. People are now able to use chatbots to control mechanisms throughout their home – this may be the back door opening when the dog barks or having the ability to adjust the heating with a verbal command. The capabilities of VUIs allows people with varying accessibility needs to further their independence just by using their voice.

We can also look to virtual reality (VR) to create a more accessible world. VR experiences can simulate access to spaces which may be otherwise inaccessible. Here in Cornwall, heritage site Geevor Tin Mine has created a 3D VR tour which has been developed alongside Heritage Ability and Soundview Media. Visitors who can’t physically access the underground part of the site will be able to access the space with a VR headset, an experience which is “as close to an actual tour as possible without it being the real thing.”

(3D VR Accessibility at Geevor Tin Mine. Image Accessed: https://geevor.com/news/3d-vr-accessability/)

VR is also being used to provide support for people with developmental disabilities, such as autism, to create an environment where people can safely gain an idea of what a space is like. Organisations can also make their sites more inclusive for people with physical accessibility needs by creating a 3D map of their site, with information about accessible routes and toilets, to ensure that disabled visitors are able to navigate the space comfortably. A company that advocates for immersive accessibility is Ocean3D™, which became the first business in the world without a physical premises to be awarded the National Autistic Society ‘Autism Friendly’ award.

At Cornwall Museums Partnership we champion accessibility and inclusivity. Working on the wAVE project has introduced me to the potential immersive technology has to make the world a more inclusive place. Though it is clear there is not one type of ‘immersive solution’ that generates accessibility for everyone, it is important that the capabilities of this technology are adopted by organisations around the world. As part of the wAVE project we are providing free immersive digital skills sessions across Cornwall, to help organisations create accessible and open environments for all of their customers. This may be learning about opening your space through 3D photography scanning with Ocean3D or the potential of immersive marketing with Soundview Media.

The growth of immersive technology shows no signs of stopping, and I hope the focus on accessibility continues to grow with it. Immersive technology is incredibly fun, but it can also provide greater freedom for so many people who live in a world designed without them in mind.

 

Ellie Smith

wAVE Digital Project Administrator Apprentice

 

Sources:

https://www.smh.com.au/technology/accessibility-will-define-technology-in-the-2020s-20191227-p53n4i.html

https://arpost.co/2018/02/21/augmented-reality-changed-life-disabled/

https://76engage.com/accessibility-2-0/

https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/12/report-voice-assistants-in-use-to-triple-to-8-billion-by-2023/

https://www.abilitynet.org.uk/news-blogs/8-ways-virtual-reality-could-transform-lives-disabled-people

Apprentice Youth Worker – Carefree, Redruth

 

Apprentice Youth Worker

 

Terms:    30 hours per week

Job Purpose:    To work with Carefree and Cornwall Museums Partnership to promote access to museums and culture as part of supporting Carefree in its delivery of youth work. To enable young people in and leaving care to do things for themselves and others. To work with young people in and leaving care, promote positive emotional health and well-being and represent their views to others.

Reports to:    Line manager

Key Relationships:   

  • Young people in and leaving care
  • Staff and volunteers for Carefree
  • Foster carers, Social workers, key workers for young people
  • Key partners – including Cornwall Museums Partnership

Main Tasks:

  • To ensure that the organisation is meeting the needs of young people in care by involving them in all aspects of Carefree’s work
  • To undertake relevant training and accreditation as appropriate, including an Apprenticeship pathway in Youth Work level 2 or 3.
  • To work alongside the youth work team to deliver positive activities for young people in and leaving care.
  • To support the positive emotional health and well-being of young people in and leaving care.
  • To work with Carefree and Cornwall Museums Partnership to support young people to access museums and culture and to promote the new culture card which gives free access to museums.
  • To gain experience both as a youth worker at carefree and working within a museum environment for example; front of house reception work or helping with collections and curation.
  • To use own care experience, when appropriate and with the necessary support, to role model positive outcomes to other young people
  • To support the improvement of Care leaving services across Cornwall
  • To represent Carefree at national events, with appropriate support.
  • To study for a level 2 or 3 qualification in Youth Work

 

Terms of employment

Salary:    £ 8.33 per hour. Pension contributions matched at up to 5% of salary.

Contract:    30 hours (7 of which will be study hours) on a variable basis with some emphasis on holidays weekends and evenings.

Expenses:    All agreed expenses incurred in carrying out the work will be reimbursed. Car mileage from the office to work places can be claimed at 40p per mile, or second-class rail travel.

Notice period:    One month on either side.

Location:    Based at Carefree, Clinton Passage Redruth (with positive activities being delivered at a range of activity and youth centres across Cornwall)

 

How to Apply

All applications should be sent to info@carefreecornwall.org.uk by midday on Thursday 6 February 2020.

Interviews will be held on Tuesday 11 February 2020 at Carefree, Redruth.

All workers are subject to a Disclosure and Barring Check

Application Form

https://www.carefreecornwall.org.uk/job-opportunities/