By: USA Games Correspondent, Tynan Gable
How could emerging virtual reality (VR) technology be used to change the game for individuals with intellectual disabilities? Thanks to Amanda McMahon, there is research being done right now to answer that question.
McMahon is a doctoral student in prevention science at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, Washington. Her husband, Don, is inspired by the potential of Amanda’s work to the point that he felt it fitting to nominate her for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games #imagamechanger campaign.
In the PhD program at WSU Amanda is taking advantage of new virtual reality technologies in her attempt to improve lives. Don admires his wife’s work because “one of the goals of this study was to find ways to increase motivation for exercise” and the use of VR technology clearly has been able to do that.
She utilizes a system called VirZOOM. VirZOOM involves an innovative device that converts a stationary bike into a game; the faster you pedal, the faster the horse or motorcycle that you’re riding moves through the scenery displayed in your virtual reality headset.