Wheelchair Accessible Video Gaming Controller

D2: Development of a Wheelchair Accessible Universal Active Video Gaming Controller (W-AVG)

Background

Active Video Games (AVG), also known as exergames, refers to a category of video games in which game play, progress and scoring require substantially greater levels of body movement.  Since their introduction, AVGs have become popular with people of all ages, with and without disabilities, and have been used in home, community, education, and rehabilitation settings to increase physical activity and other related measures1-8.  There remain unresolved technical issues, however, associated with AVG access and utility in individuals with more severe physical disabilities.

To increase the level of usability for those with various forms of mobility impairments, we have developed an adapted gaming board for Wii Fit Balance designed with 3 key features: 1) a large platform area (40 inches x 38 inches), 2) built-in lateral stabilization supports (i.e., handrails), and 3) an adjustable sensitivity for making shifting of center of gravity more or less challenging.  Since its development, we have received a number of purchase inquiries from visiting physical therapists who saw a demo of the adapted balance board in our lab at Lakeshore Foundation or at our exhibit booth at the annual RESNA conference and wanted to purchase one for their own practice.

Aims

To perform highly targeted proof of product activities for a Wheelchair Accessible Active Video Gaming (W-AVG) controller with an experienced team of engineers, product designers, potential customers, and other stakeholders from the research community.

Methods

The project will be conducted in 4 stages, which are described below.

  1. Commercial Product Conceptualization: a) Perform market analysis and customer discovery activities to develop strong marketing and technology transfer strategies; b) Perform customer/user experience immersion activities to develop customer and user use scenarios to develop customer-specific (i.e., PT clinics) product requirements such as form, function, price point, and compatibility with a set of video games and gaming platforms; c) Reimagine the ideal commercial product and identify opportunities for innovation and improvements to existing adapted balance board controller proof of concept device; d) Research, identify, procure, test, down select, and validate critical technology components to enable realization of a pre-production prototype.
  2. Pre-Production Prototype Development and Testing: a) Finalize pre-production product design based on product requirements developed in Stage 1 through modification of existing design for adapted balance board controller proof of concept device; b) Fabricate, assemble, and perform laboratory testing and validate requirement satisfaction for a single pre-production prototype; c) Revise pre-production product design as needed to include design for manufacture protocols, industrial assembly strategies, and product aesthetics and branding.
  3. Deployment of Production Representative Systems at Multiple Customer Sites: a) Work with 2-3 potential local customers (i.e., PT clinics) to develop agreements and utilization plans for long-term deployment (>3mos) of a production representative system in their facilities for regular daily use; b) Provide responsive customer support for each deployment site and establish a pathway to obtain feedback from each site’s staff and patients on a regular basis; c) Compose summary report of findings on customer/patient/stakeholder feedback as well as any recommendations for design additions or modifications to provide improved customer and/or user experience.
  4. Product Launch Preparation: Finalize product design based on findings from Stage 3 and finalize implementation of the technology transfer plan (TTP). This stage will aim to obtain quotes from commercial manufacturers such that a final product price point can be developed or a licensing agreement to transfer the design to an established company.

Final Outcomes

Our first-generation proof of concept gaming controller will be transitioned into a product (W-AVG) toward commercialization.

To view our current Balance Board Controller Prototype, please visit https://youtu.be/vQCTXlVV2Ls.

References

  1. Mullins NM, Tessmer KA, McCarroll ML, Peppel BP. Physiological and perceptual responses to Nintendo Wii Fit in young and older adults. Int J Exerc Sci. 2012;5(1):79-92.
  2. Maloney AE, Stempel A, Wood ME, Patraitis C, Beaudoin C. Can Dance Exergames Boost Physical Activity as a School-Based Intervention? Games Health J. 2012;1(6):416-421.
  3. Christison A, Khan HA. Exergaming for health: a community-based pediatric weight management program using active video gaming. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2012;51(4):382-388.
  4. Vallabhajosula S, Holder JB, Bailey EK. Effect of Exergaming on Physiological Response and Enjoyment During Recess in Elementary School-Aged Children: A Pilot Study. Games Health J. 2016.
  5. McNulty PA. Games for rehabilitation: Wii-based movement therapy improves poststroke movement ability. Games Health J. 2012;1(5):384-387.
  6. Trinh T, Scheuer SE, Thompson-Butel AG, Shiner CT, McNulty PA. Cardiovascular fitness is improved post-stroke with upper-limb Wii-based Movement Therapy but not dose-matched constraint therapy. Top Stroke Rehabil. 2016;23(3):208-216.
  7. Padala KP, Padala PR, Lensing SY, et al. Efficacy of Wii-Fit on Static and Dynamic Balance in Community Dwelling Older Veterans: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial. J Aging Res. 2017;2017:4653635.
  8. Plow M, Finlayson M. Potential benefits of Nintendo Wii Fit among people with multiple sclerosis: A longitudinal pilot study. Int J MS Care. 2011;13(1):21-30.