by Guy Frum

It is commonly believed that the senses of blind people are heightened, higher than your average person. Not true; not everyone gets to be Matt Murdoch, Daredevil, and Vigilante.
As it was recently proven by a team of scientists that blind people have normal hearing, and though they depend on other senses to navigate a world without sight, those senses are not above the normal range as well.

Right now, blind people can also experience virtual reality. And that's not all. Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology recently developed Archery, a VR game.
It was a welcome development as VR should be for everyone, and the visually impaired should not be left behind. Archery aims at helping the blind move about and has a proper spatial orientation whilst also giving them a taste of VR.
The tech was unveiled at the 43rd annual international conference of the IEEE Engineering and Biology Society (EMBC) 

Archery And Space Orientation

The game was developed as an assessment tool to help determine how blind people position themselves in space.
After the experiment, they found out that even though the visually impaired can find their way about a familiar environment, it would be extremely difficult to maneuver around strange places.
They struggle with body coordination in these new environments. They don't rely on sounds as is widely believed but rather on their own body through: Vestibular perception-which tells us our spatial orientation, standing straight or leaning to the left, laying down or leaning to the right;
Proprioception-which tells us what our body is doing in relation to itself, how to get my hand to my back and my legs.Davide Esposito, the developer of the Archery game, said, "Scientific purpose of the game aside, giving blind people the chance to try virtual reality was fulfilling. Many of our participants were having a lot of fun while doing the experiment and wanted to keep playing even after the experiment ended."
Subsequently, the result of the research moved them closer to discovering how the human body and space combine to give the sensation of space.

Further Applications

Archery is a VR game that focuses solely on vision. But at IIT, they made it possible that blind people would be able to enjoy this piece of technology.
Though it was used purely as an appraisal tool, they soon realized its usefulness. They discovered that if the game was used properly, it could be used by the blind to hone their orientation skills and make them more independent.