Adaptive Game Controllers for Individuals with Disabilities

D1: Development of Adaptive Game Controllers for Active Video Games for Individuals with Disabilities


Limitations in balance, strength, coordination, power and aerobic fitness can make it difficult for individuals with physical disabilities to keep up with their peers during games, sports, or fitness activities. This can diminish their enthusiasm for physical activity and result in increased sedentary behavior. As a result, youth and adults with physical disabilities have lower levels of physical activity and fitness and higher levels of obesity compared to their non disabled peers.

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 individuals with disabilities. However, many current AVGs are inaccessible or offer limited play options for individuals who are unable to stand, have balance issues, poor motor control, or cannot use their lower body to perform game required movements. Making AVGs accessible for people with disabilities offers an innovative approach to overcoming a number of barriers to participation in leisure-time physical activity and improving cardio respiratory fitness.

Active Video Games


1. Develop adaptive game controllers that will allow individuals with physical disabilities, specifically mobility impairments, at functionally diverse levels to play AVGs with a satisfactory quality of game play

2. Compare energy expenditure, quality of game play, and enjoyment during AVG play using off-the-shelf versus adapted controllers in individuals with physical disabilities.



The first step was to identify barriers encountered during AVG play with currently available controllers (off-the-shelf, OTS). Quality of game play and ability to use the controller were observed, and participants provided feedback regarding their gameplay experience. The engineering team took this information, and designed and developed adapted game controllers. The new controllers included an adapted gaming mat and balance board, designed to allow individuals with disabilities to play AVGs at a level that is motivating and engaging, and improves cardiorespiratory endurance. Check out the products page by clicking here!

Currently, the effects of OTS and adapted game controllers on quality of game play, enjoyment, and energy expenditure during AVG in persons with mobility impairments are being examined. The gaming controllers under study include OTS and adapted versions of the Wii Fit balance board and gaming mat.

D1 outdoor challenge

Final Outcomes

Our long-term goal is to make AVGs accessible and develop an evidence base for the use of AVGs as an enjoyable exercise modality for improving cardiorespiratory fitness and strength in individuals with disability.


Check this link for adapted AVG controllers developed by RecTech,