University students create innovative video game controllers for disabled people
Third-year engineering students from CU Coventry – part of the Coventry University Group – have created different assistive video game controllers to make gaming accessible for disabled people.
Designs included a clever glove for people undergoing rehabilitation with a prosthetic hand and a sensing controller for people with mobility needs.
The innovative controllers were then showcased at an event on CU Coventry’s campus. Users could use the controllers to play several retro games including versions of Pacman, Pong and Snake.
As part of a third-year project, CU Coventry students were tasked to design a controller to help users with a specific disability such as an amputee or someone with motor neurone disease.
One pair of students, Dan Castle and Edi Gutmanis, designed a ‘glove’ controller aimed at people undergoing rehabilitation after having a prosthetic hand fitted. The glove senses movement and acceleration, which is used to control the avatar in Pacman.
Dan said: “The glove is designed to help people with a newly-attached prosthetic hand get used to its movement. Through playing video games and getting better and better scores, users will be able to objectively see how much better they are at using their new hand.
“Playing video games also helps patients’ mental health in the short and long-term – someone who may have lost a hand or arm in an accident may have suffered severe psychological trauma.
“Enabling these patients to enjoy video gaming through having a specialised controller has multiple benefits.”
In addition, Lucimara Manuel, Belgique Mendy and Khadijah Nasser, three other third-year students, invented a pioneering controller which can sense tilting movements. It is designed for people who have lost movement in their legs or lower body.
The device can be attached to an individual’s hand, torso or head and it senses movement in three dimensions, making it compatible with a range of games.