For most of us, a visit to our local supermarket is an everyday occurrence but for some of the students at Bettridge School it can be a confusing and stressful experience. A CGI researcher in our Emerging Technology Lab in Gloucester and Bettridge School came up with the idea of a web and virtual reality application that would allow students to experience social interactions such as a trip to a supermarket.  We recognised the great potential this idea offered and started to collaborate with the school to bring the idea to life.

Our Lab team members embraced the opportunity to apply their skills to a responsible business project. They worked closely with the school to shape the requirements and to develop a solution that could be easily used within the school day. Together they designed and built an application that replays imagery captured by a 360° camera via a VR headset.

A local supermarket, kindly allowed the CGI team to have out-of-hours access to the store for digital capture.  This has enabled the students to safely explore the environment in a way that is realistic,meaningful, and fun. The VR application can accommodate students with different abilities to explore scenarios of varying complexities that can be either teacher-guided or student-driven depending on specific needs and objectives. Bettridge School is now using VR as a safe space for pupils to gain new experiences before progressing into the real-world equivalent.

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