Wheelchair-based Game Design for Older Adults

Kathrin M. Gerling, Michael R. Kalyn, Regan L. Mandryk


University of Saskatchewan


Few leisure activities are accessible to institutionalized older adults using wheelchairs; in consequence, they experience lower levels of perceived health than able-bodied peers. Video games have been shown to be an engaging leisure activity for older adults. In our work, we address the design of wheelchair-accessible motion-based games. We present KINECTWheels, a toolkit designed to integrate wheelchair movements into motion-based games, and Cupcake Heaven, a wheelchair-based video game designed for older adults using wheelchairs. Results of two studies show that KINECTWheels can be applied to make motion-based games wheelchair-accessible, and that wheelchair-based games engage older adults. Through the application of the wheelchair as an enabling technology in play, our work has the potential of encouraging older adults to develop a positive relationship with their wheelchair.

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