|Resumo: ||For some people with severe physical disabilities, the main assistive device to improve their independence in activities of daily living and to enhance overall well-being is an electric-powered wheelchair (EPW). However, a large number of wheelchair users find nearly impossible to drive them with conventional EPW interfaces, so there is a necessity to offer users EPW training.
In this work, the Simcadrom is introduced; which is a virtual reality simulator for EPW safe driving learning purposes, testing of driving skills and performance, and testing of
This simulator uses a standard proportional joystick as the main input interface, and a virtual reality head-mounted display to make the experience with the system more immersive, which can also be used with an eye-tracker device as an alternative input interface and a projector to display the virtual environment (VE).
A sense of presence questionnaire (IPQ), a user experience questionnaire (UEQ), and some statistical tests for performance parameters like: total elapsed time, path following error, and total number of commands were implemented to evaluate this version of the Simcadrom as a reliable simulator capable of providing a VE very similar to reality, where users can learn and improve their skills by driving a virtual EPW while training in the simulator. Afterward, a test protocol was purposed not just for comparing
users’ performance and driving experience between the VE and RE, but additionally,some hypotheses were established for a deeper evaluation of the developed system.
Considering the overall results, it is concluded here that the Simcadrom simulates a real EPW close enough, so it can be used for virtual training using a joystick and an HMD, or an eye tracker as an alternative interface and a projector. In general, it was well accepted by volunteers and proved to be a system that simulates, very realistically, the usability, kinematics, and dynamics of a real EPW in a VE. It was proven that people can learn and improve their EPW driving skills by doing a training session in the Simcadrom. Furthermore, the skills learned in the training session could be transferred to a real EPW.|