VR Theme Park Rides for Kids in Wheelchairs

| tags: motor impaired, ideas, enabling technology

Karen says many kids in wheelchairs never get to experience typical theme park rides. What can we do about that?

We could build or buy a platform that can tilt (say) 20 degrees in two directions under computer control. I don't think it has to be very high performance at all. We roll the kid's chair onto the platform and strap it down.

John suggests a platform with a center pivot, springs on 2 sides and stepper motors with cables on the other 2 sides. Missy says we should ask Disney who have all this figured out.

A group of our students go out to a theme park (or the state fair) and record wide-angle HD video, acceleration and good audio. Then we synchronize playback on a big screen (or screens). Perhaps a sub woofer adds some low frequency shake (or maybe the platform could do this). I don't think we need any "wash out" algorithm for the motion platform. Simply, display the best approximation to the direction of the gravity vector that the tilt platform can manage. We might want to rotate the image to undo some of the tilt. That would be an interesting study on its own.

The log flume ride would be perfect for this. We could spray the rider with some water at the end!

Then we can invite kids in for a virtual carnival or theme park field trip. That would be a ton of fun and an exciting project. Later groups of students could do fully computer generated graphics and sound as more advanced projects.

John suggests we could record historic train rides and such for more educational content.

We link to Tar Heel Reader by having kids read about the experience beforehand and write about it afterward!

I'm going to try to resist immediately jumping on this until I find some $ to pay for it.