The blind demographic has been missing out on simulated life in the virtual world, but Irish IBM students hope to change that. "The students have designed an audio equivalent of the virtual world using 3D sound to create a sense of space," the BBC reported.
One of the Irish researchers explained it further, "When the user comes into the world, the items are described as well as their positions. There is also sound attached - for example, if there’s a tree nearby you will hear a rustling of leaves."
Each avatar will have a sonar attached to give them an idea of the environment they’re in, and they will be able to communicate with other members through a technology that "uses text to speech software that reads out any chat from fellow avatars in the virtual world that appears in a text box."
Second Life is the most popular virtual world now, but the students chose to work with Active Worlds instead because it offered more flexibility.
The new move to include the blind in pop culture has been witnessed in other areas as well. Trend Hunter recently featured some other ways in which our world is beginning to include the blind population:
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Irish IBM Students Brighten Second Life
By: Bianca Bartz - Published: Sep 19, 2007