The built environment has a huge impact on how people with either physical or cognitive disabilities live on a day-to-day basis, and the new Virtual Reality Empathy Platform is a tool to make it easier for architects to design appropriately. The virtual reality kit, which includes a high-performance laptop, a virtual reality headset, a games controller, a camera, and specially designed software, helps architects and designers to better understand the challenges faced by people with dementia.
One of the biggest barriers when designing for a person with dementia is in understanding their impairment. While it is relatively easy to conceptualize the challenges faced by someone with a physical disability like vision impairment or mobility problems, dementia is a matter of perception. The Virtual Reality Empathy Platform gives an immersive, first-person experience of the symptoms of dementia in a virtual environment, helping architects to recognize the design strategies they should implement when building long-term care homes, hospitals, or sheltered housing.