Assessing mental workload and accessibility issues in VR/AR applications for people with disability

Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have great potential as a technological intervention for disabled people [1-3]. However, most human factor research into VR/AR does not consider people with disabilities. In this project, we consider the accessibility challenges (e.g. mental load, stress [5]) faced by people with a certain type of disability (e.g. dyspraxia, dyslexia) when using the current generation of VR/AR head-mounted displays and their user interfaces (e.g. in-air gesture [6,7], haptic feedback [4]). We start looking at different contexts: teleoperation, virtual cinemas, gaming. We then conduct interviews, focus groups and remote experiments on emerging issues in the literature.


[1] Wang, K., Zhang, B. and Cho, Y., 2020. Using Mobile Augmented Reality to Improve Attention in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In Extended Abstracts of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, p. 1-9.

[2] Sarah Parsons and Peter Mitchell. 2002. The potential of virtual reality in social skills training for people with autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of intellectual disability research 46, 5: 430–443.

[3] P. J. Standen and D. J. Brown. 2006. Virtual reality and its role in removing the barriers that turn cognitive impairments into intellectual disability. Virtual Reality 10, 3: 241–252.

[4] Cho, Y., Joung, M. and Kim, S., 2015. Device and method for generating vibrations. U.S. Patent Application 14/758,397.

[5] Cho, Y., Bianchi-Berthouze, N. and Julier, S.J., 2017. DeepBreath: Deep learning of breathing patterns for automatic stress recognition using low-cost thermal imaging in unconstrained settings. In 2017 Seventh International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII), pp. 456-463.

[6] Cho, Y., Kim, S. and Joung, M., 2017. Proximity sensor and control method thereof. U.S. Patent 9,703,368.

[7] Cho, Y., Joung, M. and Kim, S., 2018. Vehicle display apparatus including capacitive and light-based input sensors. U.S. Patent 9,891,756.