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Playful objects for inclusive, personalized movement games

Digital movement games are becoming more and more popular. However, exercise and sports often require coordination of visual perception and reaction, which represents a barrier for blind and visually impaired people. POINTS set itself the goal of creating new, team-based games promoting physical activity together with blind and visually impaired students and developing the necessary gaming devices. Promoting exercise, sport and activity is a common goal of schools. However, children and adolescents do not exercise enough, which can favor a number of chronic illnesses. Exercise and sports often require coordination of visual perception and reaction, which is an additional barrier for blind and visually impaired people. Apart from that, there is not enough suitable sports equipment for blind and visually impaired people. Due to their highly motivating appeal, videogames promoting physical activity (such as location-based games or exergames) have become increasingly popular. Although accessible games have been developed, they are not inclusive in terms of considering the different abilities of players. Personalized player roles allow individuals with different abilities to play together in teams, which supports inclusion.

In close collaboration with blind and visually impaired students POINTS creates new, team-based games promoting physical activity and necessary gaming devices with special attention to accessibility. POINTS uses critical making approaches in the game design and implementation: this enables pupils to create intelligent objects themselves, by getting to know suitable techniques and tools in workshops and by actively trying them out. This sustainable knowledge enables pupils to actively participate in the technological design of assistive tools and their environment beyond the scope of the project. In the developed games, the players can play along according to their preferences and physical impairments. This ensures that the game balance remains fair overall. Enjoying exercise is expected to have a positive effect on students' health and playing in teams should have positive group dynamic effects.

Within POINTS the Center for Technology Experience develops tangible building blocks to support the creation of accessible movement-based games. To investigate different types of building blocks and their potential to create accessible movement-based games, multiple game design workshops with visually impaired students are conducted. The results show that our building blocks can successfully be used by visually impaired students to empower them to become creators of movement-based games that are both accessible and engaging.

Projektcoordinator: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Center for Technology Experience

Project partners: Bundes-Blindenerziehungsinstitut

Key Words: games, sports, blind and visually impaired people

Start: 10/2017

Duration: 15 months

Customer / Funding Organisation: BM für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Wirtschaft

Website: points.tech-experience.at

AIT-Contact: Georg Regal
 

POINTS is funded under the 6th call of Sparkling Science.