As Summer turns to Autumn, the Enable Ireland National Assistive Technology (AT) Training Service has released three apps inspired by The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Enable Ireland’s vision for making Ireland a more inclusive place for everyone. The apps feature Enable Ireland’s award-winning ‘Beyond Boundaries’ garden from Bord Bia’s Bloom 2018 and use immersive media to bring some of the peace, tranquillity and joy of a beautiful summer garden to everybody regardless of physical access or indeed weather conditions.

Karl O’Keeffe from Enable Ireland develop the apps and comments, ”They demonstrate the potential of technology to enable inclusion. Technology is important to many of the children and adults using Enable Ireland services, and provides a means through which people with disabilities can participate in education, work and leisure. These apps show how emerging technologies can be used to increase accessibility and provide alternative and supplemental experiences that aren’t tied to a particular time and place.”

All three apps are available on Google Play. There is a 3D version of the Enable Ireland Beyond Boundaries Garden from Bloom which is designed specifically to be viewed using a headset. A second version can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet and does not require a headset. The third app, The Secret Garden, contains 360 videos of garden scenes from the Enable Ireland Bloom Garden, the War Memorial Gardens in Dublin 8 and the National Botanic Gardens in Kilmacurragh, Wicklow.

Hardware Requirements

All three apps are built to work on any Android based smartphone or tablet made in the last three years. The 3D app is built using Google’s Cardboard VR platform, which is regarded as the most economically accessible VR platform. Headsets are widely available both online (direct from Google or Amazon) or in regular shops (HomeStoreandMore, Smyths, Dealz,  Lidl & Aldi occasionally).

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