Microsoft: Virtual reality without vision: A haptic and auditory cane to navigate virtual worlds

“Current Virtual Reality (VR) technologies focus on rendering visuospatial effects, and thus are inaccessible for blind or low vision users. We examine the use of a novel white cane controller that enables navigation without vision of large virtual environments with complex architecture, such as winding paths and occluding walls and doors. The cane controller employs a lightweight three-axis brake mechanism to provide large-scale shape of virtual objects. The multiple degrees-of-freedom enables users to adapt the controller to their preferred techniques and grip. In addition, surface textures are rendered with a voice coil actuator based on contact vibrations; and spatialized audio is determined based on the progression of sound through the geometry around the user. We design a scavenger hunt game that demonstrates how our device enables blind users to navigate a complex virtual environment. Seven out of eight users were able to successfully navigate the virtual room (6x6m) to locate targets while avoiding collisions. We conclude with design consideration on creating immersive non-visual VR experiences based on user preferences for cane techniques, and cane material properties.”

From Sand to Silicon: The Making of a Microchip | Intel

“Ever wonder what’s under the hood of your favorite electronic device? The transistor is the engine that powers every Intel processor. To build a modern computer chip, our engineers place billions of these tiny switches into an area no larger than a fingernail. It’s one of mankind’s most complex feats, and it’s happening every day across Intel’s global network of chip manufacturing facilities. Check out this video to learn more about how we turn sand into the silicon chips that power the world.”