Destination avatar pre-check necessary?

  • Destination avatar pre-check necessary?

    Posted by SDKJapan on July 5, 2022 at 10:24 am

    Dear Tabi Folk,

    I was curious if a mobile avatar like the one created by Avatarin (see link below) is relevant or necessary for determining the accessibility of destinations for individuals or tour creators in and outside of Japan. (full disclosure: Avatarin is ANA Group company, as is my present company, Infini Travel Information.)

    Service & Product

    I am seeking opinions and advice, not a sale in this forum, as I do not work for Avatarin. I am fan of Accessibility Japan and wondered if there is potential to use this item.

    I would appreciate your comments.

    Regards,

    Scott Kerr

    Joan Pahisa replied 5 months ago 5 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Josh Grisdale

    Moderator
    July 5, 2022 at 10:45 am

    Hi there!

    That looks really cool!

    Yes, I see the potential for it in planning and “scouting out” locations to visit. Especially since it would be on wheels and could give a good estimation of where wheelchair users could go – ie no stairs etc. Though, a wheelchair likely could do a bit more (ie gravel etc).

    On a personal note, I am always a bit cautious of VR/AR/Remote presence as they can be an easy out for locations employing them – ie “instead of making our facility accessible, we can just give VR goggles to the people in wheelchairs.” Travel is much more than images, it is sound, smell, hot/cold/humidity, etc.

    But as a planning tool, or something to aide those who absolutely cannot travel, this looks really interesting!

    • SDKJapan

      Member
      July 5, 2022 at 11:02 am

      Josh,

      Thanks for the quick reply. Yes, I sensed that when I saw the location check videos(during the Olympics) that VR solutions are great, but not having “wheels on the ground” sometimes invites misunderstandings about the actual accessibility of certain environments.

      Like I said, I do not work for Avatarin, but do work on the New Business ideas for Infini Travel Information, which means I could present the idea to Avatarin(as far as I know they have not considered this use).

      If they are positive about the idea and a conversation is worthwhile for you and tem we could connect you with the Avatarin team. Do you mind if I share you comments with them?(To be sure: there is no business obligation here).

      Regards,

      Scott Kerr

    • Josh Grisdale

      Moderator
      July 5, 2022 at 11:10 am

      Hi Scott,

      Sure, feel free to share my comments, and if they are interested, I’m always interested in new ideas!

      To be clear, there are many people in the world who cannot travel due to medical conditions or disability, and they have just as much a right to explore the world as well. So, I am excited to see any way that can make that happen. I just want to make sure that happens alongside adaptations in the physical environment.

    • SDKJapan

      Member
      July 5, 2022 at 11:16 am

      Josh,

      Thanks. I understand your point and will keep that in mind. I will check with the Avatarin team and get back to you. Allow me some time to get back to you( about 1-2 weeks).

      Regards,

      Scott

    • schroth-sensei

      Member
      July 5, 2022 at 12:35 pm

      I’m with Josh, this is definitely useful for some but should be alongside adaptations in the physical environment.

      Using one isn’t my personal preference, but I can see a need for some. My concerns for users would be battery/travel distances, weatherpoof units, stability: 4-tires is good but they look plastic (so slippery when
      wet?), not sure about weight distribution, and can it manage small steps
      (few cm, up and down). I’d hate for my virtual tour to get stuck easily or end abruptly.

      Just my thoughts on it,

      -Justin

    • Carlos

      Member
      July 5, 2022 at 2:02 pm

      I agree with Josh. This shouldn’t be used as an alternative to making things accessible.

      Now, I do see it being helpful in historic places that can not be made accessible at all, like historic homes (like Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland, in Memphis, TN) or natural destinations where adding paved surfaces could hurt nature.

  • Joan Pahisa

    Member
    July 5, 2022 at 9:28 pm

    I completely agree with all previous replies. I would view an avatar like an extra accessibility layer, but it would never replace the need of in-place physical accessibility. Actually, the places where the avatar would move around would need to be physically accessible, as its wheels are quite small, unless there were several avatars in different areas and you could jump from one to another. Anyway, the need for physical accessibility would still be there as, as Josh said, traveling is way more than images, it’s smell, touch, sound, the atmosphere, etc.

    Nevertheless, an avatar can help many people that would not be able to travel otherwise. I actually know of a person in the US that uses avatars quite often both for work and for travel purposes. His name is Henry Evans: https://youtu.be/aCIukWXmlV4

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