Usability of the HTC Vive virtual reality system in recreational therapy
Keywords:HTC Vive, recreational therapy, technology, usability, virtual reality
Commercial virtual reality (VR) systems have become increasingly popular, affordable, and accessible in recent years. Resultantly, recreational activities involving VR are providing new ways to engage in leisure experiences and innovative treatments in the health care arena. Little is known, however, regarding the usability of commercial VR systems for recreational therapists and their clients. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the usability of a popular commercial VR system, the HTC Vive, in terms of its potential use in recreational therapy practice. Using a cross-sectional design, data were collected from recreational therapy professionals (N = 8) working in diverse service settings. Following exposure to the HTC Vive equipment through a professional workshop that included didactic instruction and clinical role-play activities, participants evaluated the system’s usability for themselves as well as for the clients they serve. Data collected through both an online survey and a focus group discussion revealed strong agreement from the therapists that the HTC Vive is a usable commercial VR system for themselves as well as their clients. Specific comments related to the head-mounted display (HMD), controllers, sensors/base stations, positioning, and Steam software provide valuable insights on features viewed positively, possible adaptations for specific client groups, and unique considerations by service setting.
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