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Twi-aysi Executive Summary

September 2001

Severely handicapped children, such as those worked with in the CARESS project, are denied to a large extent the experience of movement. This includes a denial of all that follows from this including the ability to approach, reach out, discover, manipulate and make sense of the world around us. The world of sound, fortunately, is as accessible and approachable to these children as to anyone else, which enabled CARESS to explore the enjoyment and benefits the children can derive from immersion in a sonic environment.

The Twi-aysi i3 future probe emerged from the CARESS Project to answer the question:

Can immersion in a visual environment hold similar potential for such children in terms of the aesthetic resonance they might derive from movement within such a visual space?

The main conclusions we have drawn, the answers to our question, are as follows:

Immersion in a visual environment can hold similar potential to immersion in an audible environment for such children. Indeed we were ourselves surprised how readily aesthetic resonance could be observed in such children moving within the quite crude (and silent) visual spaces we assembled.

The attraction and advantages of using neither wearable not touchable sensors but merely exploiting the childrensí unencumbered movement through space was readily apparent. The need for cumbersome virtual reality headsets or indeed any physical attachments would seem at this stage both undesirable and unnecessary for achieving satisfactory states of aesthetic resonance.

It was apparent that when the individual feedback was singular, certain users were more perceptible to audio while others were more perceptible to visual stimuli. When the two elements were simultaneously available and triggered through interactive captured movement, a greater degree of immersion was observed.

Virtual Reality in its current state is not an answer because of the head/eye equipment needed to view. However the researchers believe that a cave environment would add to the immersive experience and as such aid towards any aesthetic resonance desired.

There appears to be great potential for combining audio-visual stimuli in thoughtful and inventive ways with movement, creating Aesthetically Resonant Environments for various groups of users throughout the EC, by developing:

Product to support such Aesthetically Resonant Environments

Supporting software algorithms and audio-visual media content.

Programmes tailored to specific individual and community needs

We hope this summary and the detailed final report will contribute towards the establishment of fresh groupings within i3 and FET to exploit the potential of these with complementary ideas.

As a start Care Here will begin in October 2001 within KA1 concentrating on the more immediately commercially exploitable ideas in the therapeutic context. Working with the elderly in long term care and people undergoing rehabilitation in hospital or at home, following for example stroke or brain injury, alongside our special needs children.