A 3D Virtual Environment Development Platform for ASD Therapy Tools

Chamberlain, Morne Edward
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Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this thesis is to develop a generic 3D virtual environment development platform for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) therapy tools. The potential of using computerised therapy tools for ASD therapy is well known. However, the development of such tools is expensive and time-consuming, and is language and culture speci c. This work intends to alleviate these problems. The design of the platform is based on known game engine designs, but adapted for the requirements of ASD therapy tools. It supports standard features such as 3D rendering, animation and audio output. Speci c features, aimed at ASD therapy tools and educational games, included in our engine are: replays, data capturing, remote monitoring over a network and language localisation. We also implemented an input hardware abstraction layer to allow support for non-standard input peripherals in the future, without modifying existing game implementations. Furthermore, to separate the development of games and tools from the engine, we include wrapper libraries in our engine for Lua and Java. We successfully developed our engine and implemented a number of prototype therapy tools and educational games. These implementations confirmed that the engine works as expected. Some of these programs are currently in use at a local primary school.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie tesis is om 'n 3D virtuele omgewing en ontwikkelingsplatform vir outistiese spektrum versteuring (OSV) terapiemiddels te ontwikkel. Die gebruik van rekenaargebaseerde terapiemiddels vir OSV terapie is bekend. Om sulke terapiemiddels te ontwikkel is egter duur, tydrowend en is dikwels gerig op spesi eke taal- en kultuurgroepe. Hierdie werk het dit ten doel om hierdie probleme te bowe te kom. Die ontwerp van die platform is gebaseer op die ontwerp van bekende videospeletjie-enjins, maar is aangepas vir die benodigdhede van OSV terapiemiddels. Dit ondersteun standaard funksionaliteit soos 3D uitbeelding, animasie en klank. Ons platform sluit in spesi eke funksionaliteit, wat gerig is op OSV terapiemiddels en opvoedkundige speletjies, naamlik: kykweer, datavaslegging, afstandswaarneming oor 'n netwerk en taal-lokalisering. Verder is 'n abstrakte koppelvlak vir toevoerapparatuur ontwikkel, wat dit moontlik maak om in die toekoms nie-standaard toevoerapparatuur te ondersteun, sonder om bestaande speletjies se implementasies aan te pas. Verder, om die ontwikkeling van speletjies en terapiemiddels te skei van die enjin, is koppelvlakke ontwikkel wat dit moontlik maak om die enjin in Lua en Java te gebruik.
Thesis (MSc (Computer Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.
Virtual environments, ASD, Game engines, Computerised therapy tools, Theses -- Computer science, Dissertations -- Computer science