Accessible AVG Controllers
Active video games (AVGs), a category of video games that require whole body movements, hold promise for promoting higher levels of physical activity, weight management, and fitness among youths. However, many current AVGs are inaccessible or offer limited play options for youths who are unable to stand, have balance issues, poor motor control, or cannot use their lower body to perform game required movements. To read more about the study purpose and design, click here or check out the information for D1 under the tab “Projects”.
RecTech has partnered with UAB School of Engeneering and developed the following adaptations:
Barriers that were identified with the Wii Mat in Phase I had to do with sensitivity, spread of buttons, and safety for children with balance and/or coordination difficulties. The adapted Wii Mat system is similar in design to the standard mats currently available on the market (below) in that it includes eight low profile buttons that correlate to the buttons of the Wii handheld controller. The adaptions allow gameplay with both hands and feet and provide increased sensitivity through the use of piezoresistive sensors and an integrated microcontroller – an example of the sensor configuration and a similar DIY sensor are shown below. The system has eight separate buttons that are spatially reconfigurable so as to give the user the ability to place the buttons in any configuration to better facilitate their specific preferences.
Problems encountered with the Wii Fit Board during Phase I included lack of accessibility for wheelchair users as well as being too small for users with balance problems. The adapted Wii Fit Board provides a stable controller platform for users that are seated in a wheelchair. By incorporating all existing Wii Fit Board electronics into a larger, more stable platform, the adapted controller will provide a more responsive, reliable, and safer experience for the user. The existing board uses four rudimentary load cells – one positioned at each corner – to identify and track the user’s center of gravity. The load cells were repositioned to each of the corners of a larger custom built platform as seen below. Adaptive features of the new Wii Fit Board include:
- Easy Ramp access to get on and off the board
- Lighted grids help to align the wheels
- Sensitivity adjustment helps to play the game according to the individuals functional capability.
- Front guard and back guard protects the wheelchair from rolling over.
- Front guard can adjust to different angles to accommodate different foot rests.
- Height adjustable handrails that provide additional support/protection.
- An easily reachable “Start Button”
- Certain Wii Games such as “tight rope walk” requires users to jump off the board. For wheelchair users this is made possible through pressing a button.