We designed an immersive experience that simulates sensory issues that are commonly present in conditions such as autism spectrum disorders, PTSD, and schizophrenia. These issues are composed of hypersensitivities, such as perceiving lights brighter than they are, and hyposensitivities, such as not being able to make a distinction over sounds. Our solution was submitted to the 3DUI Contest 2020.
We placed the user in an environment where they needed to solve a mundane task, namely, go to a job interview. While a person that does not suffer from this condition would be expecting to focus their energy on the job interview, our simulation subverts expectations and focuses on the task of actually getting there. The user needs to leave the house and get to a taxi that will take them to the interview. When they step outside, however, they are flooded by sensory overload, with too much brightness from the sun, and multiple sounds competing for user attention.
Instead of only showing the issues, we also provide coping mechanisms. People with these conditions don’t stop living because of it, but rather learn and develop strategies to overcome the struggles. We provide users with objects that can be employed to reduce the effects of sensory overload.
2020 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces Abstracts and Workshops (VRW), IEEE 2020.