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Funded PhD Studentship on Accessible AR/VR at Birmingham City University, UK

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Information below

Project Title: HearingXR: Accessible AR/VR for d/Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Users
Project Lead: Dr Wenge Xu [email protected]               

Project Description:

Over the past few years, there has been significant growth and adoption of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) devices. These devices have been utilized for various purposes, such as training, education, and leisure activities; however, these applications have not been designed with accessibility in mind and have introduced several challenges for d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing users in using them. As one example, audio plays a significant role in current AR/VR applications, where it has been widely used for pinpointing target locations and navigating the environment. However, d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing users have issues noticing or identifying the audio resource for navigation. In addition, the current applications lack sensory substitution systems (e.g., visual prompts) to support their interaction with immersive technologies.
These challenges, however, can be easily addressed by employing a user-centred design approach with our target users and related stakeholders. This PhD project aims to (1) understand d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing users’ requirements for accessible AR/VR systems and co-design accessible features with them and related stakeholders, (2) conduct a set of experimental studies with d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing users to validate the designs, (3) provide insights into the design of accessible AR/VR experiences for d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing users.

The ultimate objective of the project is to produce an AR/VR plugin that contains several accessible features, developed based on d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing users’ needs, to help AR/VR designers and developers develop accessible AR/VR applications.
Person Specification:
-A background in Computer Science, Human Factors, Psychology or similar fields, with an excellent first degree
-Strong programming skills in Unity or Unreal Engine
-Good understanding in Human-Computer Interaction
-An interest in people

PhD Classic Doctoral Training Grant Funding Information:
This funding model includes a 36 month fully funded PhD Studentship, in-line with the Research Council values, which comprises a tax-free stipend paid monthly (2024/5 – £19,237) per year and a Full Time Fee Scholarship for up to 3 years, subject to you making satisfactory progression within your PhD.

Application Closing Date: 23:59 on Tuesday 30th April 2024 for a start date of the 2nd September 2024.

Please contact me ([email protected]) if you would like to discuss about this PhD studentship. I am more than happy to arrange an informal meeting.