Using Virtual Reality to Assess Factors Affecting Shipboard Accessibility for Wheelchair Users

H. Yamada and T. Muto


Control method for simulator, virtual reality, wheelchair, welfare equipment, motion base


In order to improve the usability and safety of public transportation for wheelchair users such as the aged and people with disabilities, designers need to assess the usability of facilities in the design stage based on the available data. This study’s objective is to develop a wheelchair simulator and control method suitable for barrier-free transportation. By controlling the hand-rims of the wheelchair, the operator can re-create traveling and turning motion in a virtual reality (VR) space. The position and attitude of the wheelchair are presented to the operator as the motion of a six-axis motion base. Through a head-mounted display, a computer graphics system provides the operator with scenery that changes in accordance with the wheelchair’s operation. To study barrier-free transportation onboard a ship, the ship’s motion was re-created in VR space, and the operational ability of the wheelchair was compared for cases including and not including the ship’s simulated motion. The experimental results demonstrate the feasibility of the developed system.

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