The Swedish division of automaker Toyota in collaboration with Swedish Paralympic committee has developed a virtual reality simulation that can reproduce how people with different visual impairments perceive the world around them. The aim of the VR-experience is to spread knowledge about visual impairments, and spark engagement for para-sports.
In this first of its kind game, the player aims and shoots at a real football goal, while the experience of having visual impairment is simulated through a Virtual Reality experience.
When competing in visually impaired football your visual defects are classified in 3 different rankings: B1, B2 and B3.
Sabina Andersson Geimer, a renowned Swedish eye specialist, translates the different impairments of the game.
“I’ve worked with blind-sports a long time, and I’m still impressed by the accomplishments of these athletes. It’s not easy to visualize these impairments to people with full sight, but the result is far more realistic than I thought was possible. As far as I know, no one’s done a simulation of these impairments on this level before,” says Geimer, who is a Consultant at the Skåne University Hospital Eye Clinic and national qualifier of blind-sports.
Geimer’s expertise helped Toyota to develop the VR experience with mathematical precision, making the impairments very realistic. Fatmir Seremeti, captain of the Swedish National Goalball Team, commented:
“I think it’s a very thought through and smart way of showing an impairment, where you not only point to the impairment itself, but also show the possibilities that come with having a visual impairment. You don’t have to quit football, and you can absolutely be a part of-and achieve -amazing things, and experience the whole world.”
Erik Gustafsson, Manager PR, External Affairs & CSR at Toyota Sweden, said the goal is to make people know how it is like to play a sport with a visual impairment, and promote awareness about athletes participating in the Para sports.
The new VR simulation game will be open to public at several para-sport events this year.