Brief Report: A Pilot Study of the Use of a Virtual Reality Headset in Autism Populations
- 1.8k Downloads
The application of virtual reality technologies (VRTs) for users with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been studied for decades. However, a gap remains in our understanding surrounding VRT head-mounted displays (HMDs). As newly designed HMDs have become commercially available (in this study the Oculus Rift™) the need to investigate newer devices is immediate. This study explored willingness, acceptance, sense of presence and immersion of ASD participants. Results revealed that all 29 participants (mean age = 32; 33 % with IQ < 70) were willing to wear the HMD. The majority of the participants reported an enjoyable experience, high levels of ‘presence’, and were likely to use HMDs again. IQ was found to be independent of the willingness to use HMDs and related VRT immersion experience.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Virtual reality technology Head-mounted display Oculus Rift™
The authors wish to thank the staff of Peckham Inc. and their valuable time in working with the research team on this project. Their expertise, assistance and inputs were invaluable. We would also like to acknowledge the participants who were willing to try this technology and provide feedback; their time and inputs are truly appreciated. This study was funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) and a Digital Economy Sustainable Society Network+. Grant Number (EP/K003593/1).
NN conceived of the study, participated in its design, interpreted the data, and drafted and critically revised the manuscript. CS and HK were instrumental in the design and acquisition of the data, analyzed and interpreted the data, and critically revised the manuscript. In addition, CS, HK and MJL worked closely with the community rehabilitation organization and key stakeholders therein. MJL participated in the acquisition of the data and critically revised the manuscript. CL and BT participated in the acquisition of the data, assisted in analyzing and interpreting the data, and readings/edits to the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Research Committee.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Cobb, S., Hawkins, T., Millen, L., & Wilson, J. R. (2014). Design and development of 3D interactive environments for special educational needs. In K. Hale & K. Stanney (Eds.), Handbook of virtual environments: Design, implementation, and applications (2nd ed., pp. 1073–1106). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.Google Scholar
- Davis, S., Nesbitt, K., & Nalivaiko, E. (2015). Comparing the onset of cybersickness using the oculus rift and two virtual roller coasters. In Proceedings of the 11th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment (vol. 27).Google Scholar
- Newbutt, N. (2013). Exploring communication and representation of the self in a virtual world by young people with autism. PhD thesis, University College Dublin, Ireland.Google Scholar
- Saiano, M., Pellegrino, L., Casadio, M., Summa, S., Garbarino, E., Rossi, V., et al. (2015). Natural interfaces and virtual environments for the acquisition of street crossing and path following skills in adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A feasibility study. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, 12(17), 1–13.Google Scholar
- Smith, M. J., Fleming, M. F., Wright, M. A., Losh, M., Humm, L. B., Olsen, D., & Bell, M. D. (2015). Brief report: Vocational outcomes for young adults with autism spectrum disorders at six months after virtual reality job interview training. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(10), 3364–3369. doi: 10.1007/s10803-015-2470-1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Steinicke, F., & Bruder, G. (2014). A self-experimentation report about long-term use of fully-immersive technology. In Proceedings of the 2nd ACM symposium on Spatial user interaction (pp. 66–69). ACM.Google Scholar
- Wallace, S., Parsons, S., & Bailey, A. (2016). Self-reported sense of presence and responses to social stimuli by adolescents with ASD in a collaborative virtual reality environment. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability.Google Scholar
- Wechsler, D. (1999). Wechsler abbreviated scale of intelligence (WASI). San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
- Wilson, C. J., & Soranzo, A. (2015). The use of virtual reality in psychology: A case study in visual perception. Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine. Accessed June 8, 2015, from http://www.hindawi.com/journals/cmmm/aa/151702/.