The strength of collaborative games is that they distribute activities between players, and encourage them to work together to achieve a common goal. They promote social interaction, cognitive development, and can even improve the quality of personal relationships. All of these benefits transfer directly to both children with disabilities and the fully-abled and have the potential for impact that goes beyond the child and extends into the community.
Through touch, our gaming platform will engage both fully-abled and children with disabilities equally, and normalize the experience between them to better focus on their shared physical expression that our technology will afford. The audience we are reaching out to our children with disabilities across the moderate to severe spectrum (including those with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses such as spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, or Down Syndrome), as well as their siblings, parents, or caregivers.
Because the microcontrollers and touch sensors use Bluetooth, the physical act of touch becomes a mode of physical expression for all players, even those with severe disabilities. The physical act of touch can then be mapped to any of the game’s mechanics (e.g. character movement and in-game actions) allowing for physical expression by even the most severely disabled. As touch can be registered from any part of the body, our platform scales very well across the disabled spectrum, and allows for both active and passive participation, even between paralyzed and fully-abled players.
To begin, two players sit across from one another with an iPad placed between them. Once the game App is launched on the iPad they must hold or touch each other's hand to start the game. To accommodate both players who are facing each other, the game App, 'Froggy and Friends' is designed to be played from either the top or the bottom of the screen. When players touch hands on the left side of the iPad the frog rotates clockwise, and when they touch hands on the right side of the iPad the frog rotates counterclockwise. When both sets of hands touch at the same time, the frog sticks out his tongue and eats the flies in front of him. The goal of the game is to help the frog eat all the flies around him by rotating him and sticking his tongue out. Humorous and playful visual elements provide a child-friendly aesthetic along with a narrative that has minimal intensity to reinforce the positive cooperative experience between the players. The touch sensors and microcontrollers for our platform are minimal and non-invasive as well. The game App also has intuitive game mechanics that are suitable for children (or adults) with disabilities. Furthermore, it can be downloaded to portable devices to maximize deployment.
Engineering Team Lead
Nursing Team Lead
Nursing Research and User Testing Assistant
Software Engineering Intern
Product Design Consulting
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