Screenshot from the game Mission to Europa Prime. A sci-fi landscape with a human base in the foreground and a large planet visible on the horizon.

UniVRsal Access embraces ND in STEM by:

  • Co-designing the STEM-based virtual reality (VR) game Europa Prime with and for neurodivergent learners.
  • Researching VR design options for players with sensory, attention, and social differences.
  • Developing the game and researching if/how it impacts neurodivergent players’ STEM interest and awareness.


Officially called “Broadening Participation in Informal STEM Learning for Autistic Learners and Others through Virtual Reality” (DRL- 2005447), UniVRsal Access involves the design, development, and research of the STEM-based virtual reality (VR) game Europa Prime.

During the first two years of the project, we conducted an extensive co-design process. The co-design team included:

  • Students at Landmark College, a post-secondary institute for learners with ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and other learning differences, and
  • Designers and researchers from EdGE, the Educational Gaming Environments group at TERC, a not-for-profit STEM education company.

We met regularly via Zoom and Miro Boards to shape the game’s story, craft and respond to artwork, design puzzles and user interfaces, and otherwise create the game together.

In parallel, we conducted research on the preferences and performances of neurodivergent and neurotypical (by self-report) participants under a variety of sensory experiences. These included different levels of brightness, amounts of clutter, color palettes, and noise volumes.

Now the VR game is being developed in collaboration with MXTreality, a team specializing in immersive and interactive virtual, augmented, and digital experiences. We’re preparing for both:

  • Research on if and how well the game builds awareness of and interest in STEM for neurodivergent players and
  • Public distribution of the STEM-based game Europa Prime.