Advice on choosing a VR headset for disabled person with only use of her thumb


Novice Member
I would like to get a VR headset for my mother, who is dying from ALS. The disease is degenerative, and she is now fully bedridden. She can still control her thumb to type out messages on her iPhone. She can’t turn her head, so I am hoping to get a VR headset and a controller so that, within a video or game, she can change the direction she is looking, and to move through that virtual world. She doesn't need any of the cool motion sensors that make VR so exciting and life-like, cuz she can't move. She just needs a way of moving around within the game/video.

What I am hoping someone here can give me advice on:
1. Is there a controller that allows the avatar to move, instead of the user physically moving in the real world? Or perhaps there is a way to use a mobile phone app to control the view direction so that user doesn't have to physically move? Mom only has her thumb. It’s not quick, but it can type and move a single stick on a simple controller.

I have seen simple controllers with a control stick for the thumb, but those controllers were for operating other aspects within a game, such game settings. The simple controllers with a thumb stick that I saw could not be used to change the direction that the user was looking within in the game/

2. Would an all-in-one headset would be better, or a PC headset be better? I’m guessing that a PC set-up might be better cuz it allows a greater range of settings for the controller. We only need to change settings so that her thumb controls movement, but such a simple setting change might require a PC?
The extra wires with a PC set-up aren't a concern, cuz mom isn't moving around (i.e., it's not like she'll trip on the wires) But that might make a PC set-up a waste, cuz she doesn't need a physical "play area," or any of the motion sensors that make VR cool. Again, she just needs to move through a virtual world by using her thumb

Her love is traveling, and I am hoping that she can take some virtual trips and explore the places she would like to visit. Please let me know if you have any ideas.

Many thanks--


Distinguished Member
I’m very sorry to hear of your mum’s predicament. But hats off to you both for thinking in a positive fashion.

I would seriously contemplate going with the Oculus Quest. It is readily available, very affordable, and offers the luxury of both stand-alone, or PC tethered play. The controllers are incredibly light, and the thumbsticks are usually configured for any movement aspect of a game. In fact, most of the buttons are laid out for thumb use. Would she be able to grip the controllers? There are an additional two buttons located on the grips. One is a squeeze button on the side, and the other is positioned at the front, like a gun trigger. These may, or may not, prove to be problematic, depending on what degree of dexterity she can afford.

An awful lot of titles do offer a “seated” option, so the need to move about your physical space can be removed. It sounds as if something like Google Earth VR might be a good fit. That would enable her to visit thousands of locations, albeit with static 360 degree environments. There are loads of VR travel videos available, all pretty much free too. And then there are the fantasy travel type experiences. Things like Deep Blue etc. I’m pretty sure that, between you, you could find many exciting VR journeys to embark upon.

Good luck on your adventure :)

Oh, and if there are any specific titles you are curious about, then just pipe up. There is bound to be someone on here that has some experience of it. They are a pretty friendly bunch on here, so help is always at hand.
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