UVA researchers create “mixed reality” headsets to help people with autism learn how to drive

UVA researchers create “mixed reality” headsets to help people with autism learn how to drive

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – The University of Virginia’s Autism Research Institute is helping people with autism learn how to drive, but they’re not getting behind the wheel. Instead, users will get behind a pair of goggles. The institute is testing headsets that make users feel like they’re in the driver’s seat. It comes equipped with a seat, steering wheel and pedals. The goggles show traffic patterns and mimic real-life driving situations. The institute has a simulation room that is set up like an actual car, but Dr. Daniel Cox, the principal investigator behind the project, says the headsets gives users the opportunity to learn on their own time, in a space they feel comfortable in. “We are using it with individuals on the spectrum to target two things. One: to improve their driving skills. And two: to reduce their driving concerns, anxieties, and apprehensions,” Dr. Cox said. There is a headset available at UVA, as well as at the Virginia Institute for Autism. Copyright 2021 WVIR. All rights reserved. Do you have a story idea? Send us your news tip here .

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