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Culture 4 all: accessibility-enabled cultural experiences through immersive VR360 content

Abstract

The use of virtual reality (VR) technologies and, in particular, of VR360 content can provide great benefits in the society. This particularly applies to the culture and heritage sectors, where venues, goods and events can be digitalised to provide hyper-realistic and engaging experiences, anywhere and anytime. Despite significant advances in the field of VR, there is still an unexplored aspect which is crucial for every service and experience where user interaction is expected: accessibility. This article firstly reviews the needs, challenges and limitations for making VR360 experiences accessible. Based on these facts, an end-to-end platform to efficiently integrate accessibility services within VR360 content is presented. The platform encompasses all steps from media authoring to media consumption, but special attention is given to the accessibility-enabled VR360 player, as it is the end user interaction interface. The presentation modes for the supported access services (like subtitling, audio description and sign language), interaction modalities and personalisation features supported by the player are described. To conclude, the availability of newly created and adapted culture-related accessible VR360 content is explored, as a proof of the potential of the contributions work in this sector.

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Notes

  1. https://www.w3.org/WAI/older-users/#background Last Access in November 2019

  2. https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/disability-and-ageing.html Last Access in November 2019

  3. https://www.theaudienceagency.org/asset/1303 Last Access in November 2019

  4. NYT VR http://www.nytimes.com/marketing/nytvr/?module=inline Last Access in November 2019

  5. NYT The Daily 360 https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/01/nytnow/the-daily-360-videos.html Last Access in November 2019

  6. VR360 videos created by NYT https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/01/nytnow/the-daily-360-videos.html Last Access in November 2019

  7. VR360 playlist of the NYT Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4CGYNsoW2iDN-xj9xxfgRLsqmAdY8J_W Last Access in November 2019

  8. VR Gorilla Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6AXBF-78lNa3_TjAIWZWmQ/playlistsLast Access in November 2019

  9. Dali Museum VR360 Experience: https://thedali.org/exhibit/dreams-vr/ Last Access in November 2019

  10. Link to the Dali VR360 video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1eLeIocAcU Last Access in November 2019

  11. VR360 videos produced within the scope of Google Arts & Culture project: https://artsandculture.google.com/project/360-videos Last Access in November 2019

  12. https://www.dr.dk/om-dr/about-dr/smart-icons-design-common-european-standardization

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Funding

This work has been partially funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 program, under agreement No. 761974 (ImAc project). Work by Mario Montagud has been additionally funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities with a Juan de la CiervaIncorporación grant, with reference IJCI-2017-34611, and by Fundación BBVA with a ‘Beca Leonardo a Investigadores y Creadores Culturales 2018’. Work by Pilar Orero and Anna Matamala has been additionally funded by the Catalan Government with the funded TransMedia Catalonia research group, with reference 2019SGR113.

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Correspondence to Mario Montagud.

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Montagud, M., Orero, P. & Matamala, A. Culture 4 all: accessibility-enabled cultural experiences through immersive VR360 content. Pers Ubiquit Comput 24, 887–905 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00779-019-01357-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00779-019-01357-3

Keywords

  • 360° video
  • Accessibility
  • Cultural heritage
  • Culture
  • User interaction
  • Virtual reality
  • VR360