VR for Disabled
Published on September 23, 2022
by Gabriela

Immersive technology is currently being developed non-stop, changing how everyone sees and enjoys the VR that surrounds us. While most of these worlds are related to gaming, there are plenty of reasons to build things in the Metaverse. Of course, this also includes improvements to inclusivity for disabled people.

How Can VR and the Metaverse Change Disabled People’s Lives

Since virtual worlds allow anyone to transport to exotic and amazing places as well as imaginary worlds, it can certainly do something for disabled people. It provides a new way of experiencing some activities that they wouldn’t be able to enjoy in real life.

Anyone is capable of skiing, climbing a mountain, dancing, running a race, driving, or whatever they please when wearing a virtual reality headset. Metaverse worlds will make no discrimination against anyone, no matter who decides to enter.

What Can VR Headsets Do for Disabled People

Virtual reality headsets, along with other technology, can provide certain features that allow disabled people to enhance their senses. They can also feel things that they wouldn’t normally feel, making it a whole new experience. These are some of those features:

Enhance their Senses With Sensors

Not everyone who suffers from impairment or hearing problems has a total loss. Some people only have a partial loss and can benefit from many VR technology that enhances it, such as AR-enhancing, which amplifies sounds and allows them to see with quality.

Help With Their Social Skill Development

People with socialization difficulties, such as people with autism spectrum disorder, can find it hard and overwhelming to interact. Luckily, Project VOISS uses VR tools to stimulate social interactions and help autist people to experiment without risks inside a safe environment.

Improve Their Communication

Communicating properly can be a huge challenge for people with hearing and sight issues. Assistive technology can help these groups of people with translating signs into text, for example.

Allow a Better Planning

VR has many features to show places before a mobility-impaired person visits them. This can help these people to pick a place with ramps or wheelchair zones, leading to better accommodation planning.

Help With Medical Recovery

Severe injuries and other health issues or conditions are irreversible, for example, mobility. Few projects, such as Walk Again Project, utilizes a VR interface tied to brain-machine resources to help people with paraplegia.

Exploring the Metaverse as a Disabled Person

Many Metaverse projects allow disabled people to explore the world in new ways, along with the many other benefits VR adds to their senses.

Second Life

One of the eldest and most renowned virtual worlds out there, Second Life is a huge place for people to interact with each other through an avatar. These characters can be customized to the user’s desire and navigate their world by participating in different activities and meeting new people.

It presents an interesting way for disabled people to make friends, participate in a fun activity, or many other things Second Life has to offer. There are virtual offices and charities in-game such as ones for disabled people, where families meet to support each other and also share useful information.


WalkinVR is a huge advance when it comes to VR for disabled people. This inclusive software works to help people with motor disabilities explore video games and other environments of virtual reality. This software allows everyone to try to have a fun pastime with no complications.

Adapted to many hardware such as Oculus Rift/Quest, HTC Vive , and Valve Index, it ensures any VR owner can utilize it. Having a PC-VR is also necessary to make it work alongside Kinect.

Its virtual move adapters allow users to grab motion controllers to move without the need to physically move around the necessary playspace. This also allows disabled people to crouch and stand virtually.

Another important feature called “Motion Range and Boost” changes the point of origin of motion controllers. This helps to amplify movement, such as reaching an object or twisting the controller. Doing so greatly helps the interaction within the surroundings for people with less mobility.

Desktop VR

There is also much software that includes desktop virtual reality systems, allowing wheelchair people to access VR. To utilize it, headwear is, of course, a necessity, along with certain devices such as joysticks or trackballs.

Many design prototypes have been realized already, such as busy streets, shopping centers, and more “real-life” places. Its main aim is the confidence boost and self-esteem of disabled people through changes that can improve their quality of life.

Other Features AR and VR Can Offer

Virtual reality headsets and enhanced sensor features aren’t everything a virtual reality device can offer. Luckily, there are many other tools that can be used along to experience the full environment when it comes to VR for disabled people.

Audio Cues for Visually Impaired

Some companies have been working hard testing spatial audio to recreate audio cues that can help visually impaired people.

One renowned brand working on this is Google Daydream, which has recorded and linked every object in a room that allows its navigation while being completely dark.

This is realized through a 3D audio laser pointer that plays audio impulsing different response tones at the location, simulating the distance to the object. A project like this can be very valuable for the inclusion of people with complete visual loss in the Metaverse.

Similar software has been in the works by Microsoft, called the Canetroller. It is basically a cane stick for blind people, adapted to detect surrounding obstacles in a virtual world. The audio feedback stimulates the world around the user while it is connected to the headset.

Augmented Reality for Near-sighted People

Augmented VR software is also being developed to help people that need it. There are mobile applications for Android that can be used through the phone’s camera displaying the screen in a stereoscopic view.

Others, such as Aira, work on subscription services that offer the feature to live stream through Google Glass, assisting people with sight issues. It can be used for the assistance of a trained professional agent, and in the near future, for Metaverse development.

Touchable Virtual Art Pieces

Many organizations have been working together to bring the full experience of touching pieces of art in the Metaverse and other virtual places. This, of course, brings an excellent opportunity for disabled people to experience and see it.

Geometry Prague, Neurodigital Technologies, and Leontinka Foundation worked on the creation of software to allow to touch masterpieces. Of course, this includes all of those who are visually impaired and blind people too.

A special pair of haptic gloves are needed to feel it, along with a head-mounted display device. This allows feeling any famous sculpture, from Michelangelo’s ones to historical busts around the globe.


A lot of progress has been done when it comes to making VR more inclusive for disabled people. This undoubtedly opens a gate for making the Metaverse a better place where everyone, no matter who they are, can enjoy.

Virtual reality headsets are able to do spectacular things to improve what disabled people cannot do. Alongside that, other devices and features boost their senses and try to supply those issues with VR canes or audio cues.

It is only a matter of a short time for more complex and better devices to appear that will grant disabled people an even bigger chance to enjoy everything that the Metaverse has.

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About the Author

Gabriela, CEO of SEONFT Marketing agency, is passionate about developing Marketing strategies for Crypto Assets, selling out NFT collections, the Metaverse, and opportunities yet to come.

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