Tarkett launches VR-tech to make spaces more inclusive

Tarkett, a global leader in recyclable flooring solutions, has launched its ground-breaking virtual reality ‘Human Conscious Design Platform’ (HCDP)…

tarkett virtual reality

One in seven people is estimated to be neurodivergent, meaning their brain functions, processes information and reacts to sensory stimuli differently than those considered neurotypical. Common examples include ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and dementia. Increasingly, communities and organisations recognise that fostering true inclusivity requires designing environments suitable for every neurotype. This technology enables users to experience how physical spaces may look, sound and feel from the perspective of someone who is neurodivergent.

“Our new Human Conscious Design Platform represents a major leap forward in Tarkett’s ‘Human-Conscious Design’ philosophy of creating spaces that are good for people and planet. It builds on our existing industry-leading work around designing for dementia and the ‘Through their eyes’ VR experience that we launched in 2018,” commented Shaz Hawkins, Segment Marketing Manager at Tarkett. “This latest technology continues our drive to cultivate invaluable empathy and understanding amongst architects, designers, organisations and the public by allowing them to experience an environment through a neurodivergent lens first-hand. This can help shape more accommodating, equitable spaces where all individuals feel welcomed and are able to thrive.”

tarkett virtual reality

Image credit: Tarkett

The HCDP has been developed following a couple of years worth of research and development including interviews with neurodivergent individuals, teachers, businesses and support organisations as well as extensive desktop research. The platform immerses users in virtual environments like offices, schools, hospitals and care homes rendered to highlight sensory stimuli that may overwhelm, under stimulate or distress someone with sensory processing differences. Users can toggle augmented sound, lighting and other elements to vividly experience an environment from multiple neurodivergent perspectives.

To support the launch of the VR platform, Tarkett is also rolling out a RIBA-accredited Human Conscious Design continuing professional development (CPD) course to educate architects and designers on the principles and best practices for inclusive design addressing neurodiversity. The team has published a report, Human Conscious Design Principles, to help organisations and designers understand neurodiversity better along with practical advice on how to create inclusive spaces.

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Main image credit: Tarkett