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Wheelchair VR Development Blog

CSE481V Capstone Spring 2019 - Team 5

Product Proposal


Luke Manship,, 4/11/19
Ilya Kucherov,, 4/11/19
Kyle Yan,, 4/11/19
David Chen,, 4/11/19


Our project aims to create empathy and understanding by having users simulate a day in the life of a wheelchair user through a VR experience.

Project Description:

Our project will be a VR simulation in which users will sit in a chair and wear a VR headset, which will transport them to a virtual building (perhaps even one of the UW CSE buildings) through which they will attempt to navigate. Users will have to use their arms to physically turn the wheels on their virtual wheelchair in order to move about the virtual building and reach their goal area, giving them a better idea of how tired one’s arms can get while trying to get around.

Our team’s aim is to put users into a situation they may not have been before, presenting them with a powerful new perspective that provides insight into the problems one faces when forced to use a wheelchair to move throughout their daily life.

We will create the VR space using Unity, allowing us to create the navigable building and the wheelchair that the user will use to move around. We will likely create a single building through which the user can move, but may create more than one if time allows.

We want to make the experience hard on the user in order to accurately simulate the troubles that wheelchair-bound people face day-to-day, so we will likely be creating the building such that wheelchair accessibility will prove difficult (one of the elevators not working, ramps being in difficult locations, etc). We will also consult Access Maps (an accessibility mapping website that tracks how difficult certain areas of real-life cities are to navigate) in order to help us design terrain that will accurately simulate difficult terrain a wheelchair-user may be confronted with.

We hope that this VR experience will give users who have the use of their legs better perspective on some of the very real difficulties that people in wheelchairs face in their daily lives. Hardware Platform/Device: Oculus Quest (Rift if there are no Quests available) Microsoft Mixed Reality Headset