xr-access
Continuing on my series on XR Ethics in collaboration with the IEEE Global Initiative on the Ethics of Extended Reality, this episode dives into the White Paper on Diversity, Inclusion, & Accessibility featuring Isabel Guenette Thornton (Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cambridge in Sociology), and Dylan Fox (XR Access & Researcher at UC Berkeley for Augmented Reality for Obstacle Avoidance).

Accessibility is a really huge open problem with XR, and there’s lots of work that still needs to be done, and Fox says that there hasn’t been an XR experience that’s totally accessible. There have been incremental innovations with experiences tackling one accessibility feature, and this White Paper starts to map out and define features of XR accessibility. There’s also a XR Accessibility Project GitHub page that’s being curated as a collaboration between XR Access and the XR Association that contains lots of references and code snippets to help make XR experiences more accessible.

There’s a free XR Access Symposium happening on June 9-10 that will be digging a lot of these issues, and videos will be made available if you can’t make it live.

Thornton brings up lots of the latest sociological scholarship on the challenges of data extraction, predatory inclusion, and a quote from Tressie McMillan Cottom’s 2016 paper on “Black Cyberfeminism” that points out how “digital divides may not go far enough to capture the various intersections of privilege, access, and power that operate online and offline simultaneously and which can also be mutually constitutive.” This helps to set a broader context for how the realms of possibilities that are opening up for able-bodied XR users are increasing the realms of possibilities while simultaneously increasing gaps people who don’t have the ability or means to gain access to emerging XR technologies.

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Music: Fatality

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