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The Clemson University DRIVE Lab

The Digital Restoration and Innovative Virtual Environments (DRIVE) Lab at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) has been working on innovative solutions to improve accessibility in virtual reality (VR) technology. Under the leadership of Julian Brinkley, the lab has been conducting research to make VR more inclusive for adults of all age groups and those with disabilities.

One of the lab's ongoing projects involves partnering with Clemson Downs Retirement Center in Clemson, South Carolina, to develop and evaluate accessible VR technology with elderly residents. The residents of Clemson Downs have played a crucial role in the design and evaluation process, providing invaluable feedback that has helped the DRIVE Lab to create more accessible VR experiences.

"Community involvement is critical for any type of accessibility-related research,” said Dr. Brinkley. “Without the assistance of community partners like Clemson Downs, it would be exceedingly difficult to incorporate the perspectives of older adults and persons with disabilities into the technology design process."

The DRIVE Lab has been working with the residents of Clemson Downs to identify the challenges they face when using VR technology and developing solutions to address these challenges. For instance, the lab has been exploring ways to make VR headsets more comfortable for elderly users who may have physical limitations. The lab has also been experimenting with different types of controllers that are easier for older adults to use.

As the DRIVE Lab continues its research on improving accessibility in virtual reality technology, the lab envisions a future where VR experiences are designed with inclusivity and accessibility in mind from the start. The lab plans to expand its collaboration with community partners to gain additional insights into accessibility and mobility challenges. With this information, Dr. Brinkley and his team aim to develop innovative solutions that prioritize accessibility within human-centered technologies.

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