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Kids with Disabilities Are Gamers, Too

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Eight-year-old Jerome loves video games, but a combination of his complex cerebral palsy and lack of accessible options limits his opportunities.

Using the prototype technologies, Jerome was able to play a video game for the first time in his life rather than watching a YouTube video of someone playing a game, or his parents supporting him.

Credit: Sam John

Students at Australia's University of Melbourne developed three prototype assistive technologies that could enable children with cerebral palsy to play video games.

The researchers built a touch button that does not require fine motor skills to use, a kick button, and motion-tracking software that controls games using head movements.

The prototypes were developed with an 8-year-old boy with cerebral palsy in mind; he lacked the fine motor skills to use regular or modified game controllers and is non-verbal.

After allowing him to test the three prototype technologies, the researchers found his attention span lengthened from about 15 minutes to over an hour, during which he was fully engaged and laughing.

Student researcher Fidel Febri Halim said the experience "has reinforced my belief in the importance of inclusive design and technology that can empower individuals with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives."

From Pursuit - The University of Melbourne (Australia)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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