Ramat Gan, Israel, November 10, 2016. A new virtual reality application enables the viewer to experience the world from the perspective of children and youth with disabilities. The application – Making it Accessible – was built to create solidarity and empathy, to demonstrate how daily situations can be accessed, and to shape positive attitudes toward children, youth and adults with disabilities.
The application was developed by Edge-MT, a developer and provider of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications, content supplier and creator of advanced marketing solutions. The project was initiated and funded by JDC-Ashalim, Israel’s Ministry of Education, Israel’s Ministry of Social Affairs, the Shalem Foundation, Israel’s National Insurance Institute, Israel’s Council of Youth Movements, and Elwyn Israel.
The app creates simulations of situations that occur in a park, as they would be experienced by youth with disabilities, such as physical disability, visual and hearing impairment, or autism spectrum disability. A simulation of a cognitive disability will be added in the coming months.
Each simulation comprises two parts. In the first, the viewer experiences the park from the perspective of a boy/girl with disabilities who wants to feed ducks in the lake, go on the swing, play floor games, buy ice cream, and more. In the second, the boy/girl with disabilities shows how the situation can be accessed, using simple means symbolized by graphical elements on the park’s photographs. The simulation ends with the slogan “Now I can too!”.
The app was developed as part of two Israeli programs: Inclusion of children and youth with disabilities in youth movements, and the Volunteering for a Change program, which encourages volunteering and social engagement of youth with disabilities.
The target audience is youth movement counselors and youth coordinators working to include youth with disabilities in voluntary programs. However, it can be used by a wide range of professionals, youth and people with disabilities, in information campaigns promoting inclusion and accessibility.
“The app’s steering and copywriting committee decided that virtual reality would be the best way to elicit empathy and solidarity among youth movement counselors and youth coordinators,” said Liron Zuckerman, Co-Founder of Edge-MT. “Therefore, this app includes both a given situation highlighting the limitations that children and youth with disabilities face, and the changes that will make the situation accessible.”
Each simulation can be viewed in Hebrew and Arabic; some simulations can also be viewed in English. The app can be downloaded for free on any device that supports virtual reality, and can be viewed through virtual reality goggles.
The Making it Accessible app can be downloaded for Android devices from Google Play at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Edgemt.JointE and for iOS devices from iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/making-it-accessible/id1148533522?mt=8
Edge-MT )Marketing Technologies) offers innovative and creative virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications, content creation and marketing solutions, as well as video games and 360 degrees stereoscopic videos. Edge-MT was founded in 2014 by Liron Zuckerman, a video content producer, and Lee Rothschild, a business developer. The technical team is led by Doron Kanaan, a game designer and developer. Edge-MT’s clients include McCann Valley, Baumann Ber Rivnay Saatchi & Saatchi, Partner Communications Company, CompuGraphic and others. For more information visit www.edge-mt.com