LA Times Features Anthropologist's US Government-Funded Study Of How Virtual Worlds Affect Disabled ...

LA Times Features Anthropologist's US Government-Funded Study Of How Virtual Worlds Affect Disabled Users

Good LA Times write-up of Tom Boellstorff, the UC Irvine Anthropology professor who's been exploring Second Life since 2004 (and full disclosure, became an IRL pal along the way). The Times' focus is on Tom's latest work, which is funded by the US government, and focuses on the many disabled people who use virtual worlds like Second Life:

Boellstorff and co-researcher Donna Davis of the University of Oregon got to know about 200 disabled players. The researchers found the virtual world provides a way for the mentally and physically disabled to socialize and forge meaningful relationships. “We so often hear about the dark side of technology,” Davis said. “But I think that Tom and I have found that there is a bright side. People can connect in these virtual spaces in really important and meaningful ways.”

Boellstorff’ has received $277,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation since 2015 to research how online environments affect social interaction, self-awareness and the disabled experience. Boellstorff, who is writing a second book on his new research, hopes that his research will cause technology developers to pay heed to the issues of disabled people when creating virtual reality products.

“This is an important thing for these CEOs to look at,” Boellstorff said. “Over and over again, if you look at the history of technology, often the tech gets developed assuming the consumer is able-bodied."

See http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2018/10/-tom-boellstorff-second-life-virtual-therapy-disabled-la-times.html

#disability #virtualworld


LA Times Features Anthropologist's US Government-Funded Study of How Virtual Worlds Affect Disabled Users
Good LA Times write-up of Tom Boellstorff, the UC Irvine Anthropology professor who's been exploring Second Life since 2004 (and full disclosure, became an IRL pal along the way). The Times' focus is on Tom's latest work, which is funded...

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