Innovation That Matters

VR football | Photo source Shutterstock

Virtual reality simulates how visually impaired athletes see


Users experience the challenges visually impared athletes overcome to play football


Toyota Sweden and the Swedish Paralympic Committee have created a virtual reality (VR) game that mimics how Paralympic footballers see the world. The game is part of a campaign to educate people about visual impairments and increase interest in the Paralympics.

Users are challenged to kick a goal despite not being able to see the pitch clearly. The team’s challenge was to make the VR realistic so users could experience the difficulties these footballers overcome to be successful. The development team used different effects to mimic a variety of vision problems. In one example, Vaseline smeared on a lens simulated the blurry pitch a visually impaired footballer sees. The lens was then photographed, and the photo used as a filter for the VR technology.

“It’s not easy to visualise these impairments to people with full sight, but the result is far more realistic than I thought was possible. As far as I know, no one’s done a simulation of these impairments on this level before,” said eye specialist Sabina Andersson Geimer, who consulted on the game’s design.

The Swedish campaign focusses on football because it is a popular sport for the visually impaired. Toyota also sponsored a 360-degree video that allows viewers to experience skiing through the eyes of a Paralympic skier. The public can try the football game at several para-sport events this year.




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