Pupils at Metta School, a special needs school, go on monthly social confidence outings to help them get used to navigating real-world conditions independently, such as taking the MRT or crossing the road. But with many of them having conditions like autism and mild intellectual disabilities, cars, motorcycles, impatient commuters and even street signs are a minefield of distractions that could compromise their safety.

“They are not very aware of the dangers that the environment may pose,” said senior teacher Tan Bee Ngah. “They may not look out for oncoming traffic, for example.”

School staff have worked with Eon Reality, a virtual and augmented reality company, to develop a series of lessons that use technology to teach pupils how to use public transport – but within the safe confines of the classroom.

The course consists of three modules – crossing the road, taking the MRT and taking the bus.

For half an hour a week since the beginning of last month, pupils have been interacting with 2m-tall panels equipped with motion sensors. The pupils trigger simulations by moving their hands or walking in in front of the panels.’

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