Virtual Reality Calm Room
Hayley Harwood

Chattanooga Regional Science and Engineering Fair Winner
Intel Excellence in Computer Science, Software Systems division, 1st place
Intel ISEF “runner up”

Poster presented at The American Occupational Therapy Association National Conference. April 20, 2018 
(Mary Loveless, project mentor)

The Center for Disease Control claims that 1 in 68 children are identified as having an autism spectrum disorder, but due to the high cost of treatment and intervention programs, many families cannot afford the care that their child needs. Although some treatment methods, such as service dogs, robotic assistance, and counselors, have been proven effective, these solutions are too cost-prohibitive to reach out to autistic children from all socioeconomic backgrounds. With the widespread availability of phones and inexpensive virtual reality headsets, however, this could change. Today, many amusement parks and other public areas have started creating calm rooms, a quiet place where children with special needs, particularly autism, can escape from the anxiety and stress from the sensory overload caused by the outside world. We have developed and packaged (Unity3D, San Francisco, CA) a virtual calm room such that it can easily deployed it on mobile Android and iOS devices. This virtual reality calm room will give parents an affordable and portable method of helping their child with autism, and could also grant families more freedom to participate in activities outside the home without having to worry about if it will cause too much stress for their child.

Click here to view poster

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