The VRSciT project (2020-1-PT01-KA204-078597) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Virtual reality to foster social integration by allowing wheelchair users to tour complex archaeological sites realistically

Study Field
Culture and tourism, Special Needs
Summary
This work presents a VR application introduced to allow people in wheelchairs to visit the archaeological site of Cancho Roano in Zalamea de la Serena (Spain). Indeed, people with disabilities usually face severe difficulties when visiting monuments and archaeological sites and for this reason they cannot enjoy the experience. With the aim of improving the accessibility of the Cancho Roano site and of raising the awareness on the difficulties that people in wheelchairs must face, an innovative VR system was developed. To assure the most realistic experience it was introduced as a motion platform with haptic rollers, together with a system to simulate the friction of the wheels on various types of ground.
Innovative VR tools and techniques
- After the real data had been acquired with a laser scanner, they were integrated into a synthetic model of the site to program the whole VR.
- A six-degree motion platform with a haptic system containing the wheelchair has been developed; users move the wheels of a real wheelchair to be able to move within the VR site.
- Data were acquired through a laser scanner.
- Researchers use “Meshlab” (open source 3D processing software) to lower resolution, to represent images in real-time on an average computer.
- Motion capture system (used to register data for further analysis and to increase user’s sense of immersion): optical system and 5DT data glove.
- 3D model generated using: Faro LS 8000 laser scanner, Nikon D200 camera and a Nikon AF DX Fisheye lens.
VR in education
- Cultural heritage is perceived as a perfect tool to promote social integration.
- VR application to allow people with motor disabilities to visit the site of Cancho Roano.
- The use of VR can help designers to introduce more suitable infrastructures that can facilitate the access of people with disabilities to the real archaeological site.
- Creating a 3D digital model of a monument or an archaeological site is useful for: generation of replicas, measurement of significant elements, high quality rendered images from any desired point of view.
- Parts of the site that are inaccessible to visit in real life were accessible in the VE.
- To add realism to the virtual tour, the terrain’s roughness was taken into consideration.
- Physical accessibility and perceptual accessibility influenced the “appropriational accessibility”, which has to do with emotions transmitted by the heritage environment.
Reference
E. Pérez, P. Merchán, M.J Merchán, S. Salamanca (2020) Virtual Reality to Foster Social Integration by Allowing Wheelchair Users to Tour Complex Archaeological Sites Realistically. Vol. 12, no.3, pp. 1 - 15

The VRSciT Project

The VRSciT project (2020-1-PT01-KA204-078597) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.