Accessible prototypes unveiled to enable people of all abilities to take part in gaming
Popular furniture store IKEA, in collaboration with wearable device company UNYQ and e-sports specialist Area Academy, has revealed the first prototypes from UPPKOPPLA, a series of home products that aim to transform the gaming experience for disabled people.
An initiative that started one year ago, UPPKOPPLA hopes to address the issue of a lack of accessibility and customisation in the two-billion strong group of gamers worldwide. IKEA is working with UNYQ and Area Academy to enable people of all abilities to enjoy gaming whilst in their own homes.
The first prototypes from the home-based UPPKOPPLA range include customised gaming accessories, desk supports, keycaps and a mouse “bungee” to improve gaming precision.
Michael Nikolic, Creative Leader at IKEA Sweden, commented: “It’s true that we haven’t seen the full potential of this group earlier and we haven’t looked into their specific needs at home as much as we should. There are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding gamers. In fact, it is a large group of people in all ages where gaming is even a full-time job for some.”
Exploring the technique by UNYQ, built upon an initial body scan to add a personal fit to the following 3D-printed products, it is possible to customise products after different physical needs and taste.
In the long-term, IKEA hopes to apply the new learnings to other groups of people and customers with specific requirements.
“By working with IKEA, we can explore new ways to leverage a concept we’ve been working with for years, as well as the technological process to implement it. Understanding individuals’ unique needs are what drives UNYQ’s strategy and are the basis for all of our products – we feel completely aligned with IKEA on this mission,” said Eythor Bender, CEO of UNYQ.
It is not the first time IKEA has launched an inclusive product range, with the furniture store recently launching its ThisAbles range of add-on products to help make everyday tasks simpler disabled people, such as bumpers for bookshelves, extra-large zippers and corner markers for shelves.
“It’s actually striking how unexplored this part of the gaming industry is. Focus has always been on the hardware, and everything else has been ignored,” said Tommy Ingemarsson, Founder and CEO of Area Academy.
The ambition is that new learnings from personalisation for gamers will lead to solutions for people with physical disabilities or physical strains.
UPPKOPPLA is intended to be available from 2020.