An RMIT Vietnam student has developed a virtual reality project that puts users in the shoes of dyslexic people.
Intended to raise awareness of the reading disorder, Phan Hoang Thai Chau’s Dyslexic City lets users experience the difficulties faced by dyslexic people in recognising street signs and finding directions.
The Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) student explained: “Dyslexia is a learning disorder, characterized by difficulties in manipulating letters, characters, in other cases mathematical symbols despite normal intelligence.”
“I saw the connection between the possibilities that virtual reality (VR) technology can offer and the difficulties dyslexic people have in recognising words,” Chau said.
“VR can provide users with different perspectives about shapes and images.”
Dyslexic City, one of Chau’s projects in the Advanced Interaction Design course, led to an opportunity for her to spend one week experiencing the latest augmented reality and virtual reality technologies at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.
School of Communication & Design Associate Lecturer Ondris Pui said that Chau was selected by the University’s Centre of Digital Excellence because her project effectively combined technology with art to address a societal need.
“In Chau’s projects, augmented reality is used to assist dyslexic children with learning new vocabulary, while virtual reality is used to help users experience empathy, thereby generating awareness about dyslexia,” Mr Pui said.
About the project’s practical applications, Mr Pui said: “In the near future, we intend to let users download the app onto their mobile devices.”
“Coupled with low-cost VR viewers such as Google Cardboards, users are able to experience what dyslexia is.”
Chau thought the trip to New Zealand gave her a lot of confidence.
“I gained confidence when I found people not only appreciated the outlook of the project, but also how I generated the idea and my intention behind it,” Chau said.
“I want to spread awareness about dyslexia in Vietnam. Students with dyslexia are as intelligent as others, and they just need a little help from the community,” Chau emphasised while putting the finishing touches on Dyslexic City.
Story: Hoang Ha