An accessible gaming system for people with hand impairments.
For people with hand impairments, playing video games isn’t always possible. But the OrbIT accessible gaming system provides an alternative.
“It facilitates access for people who have an impairment,” says David Hobbs, Lecturer and Rehabilitation Engineer at Flinders University. “They can play video or computer games, but at the same time, they’re getting therapy – and that’s the power. They’re getting access to a health alternative through the technology we’ve developed,” he says.
The development process took two and a half years from the initial idea to the first trial. More than twelve different professional disciplines were represented in the team, from industrial design to physiotherapy.
OrbIT’s reception has been sweepingly positive – “especially from children,” says Hobbs. “They want to take OrbIT home.”
What are the games like?
“Most of the games are interactive, fun games. And the reason for that is we want people to engage and play with it,” says Hobbs.
“The ultimate plan is to increase our portfolio of games, and to increase our games catalogue, so we have more attraction and more appeal. Games for little children; games for teenagers; games for adults and more learning games that make the grey matter [of the brain] – the cerebral part – work really well.”
Does it have other applications?
Other benefits of the OrbIT system might soon be uncovered.
“We’re very keen to trial it with people who have Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, because we believe it might provide a neuroprotective effect where they can game and use both their hands, and receive signals through their hands at the same time,” says Hobbs.
“So it may have the effect were it can be used as a preventative. But at the moment, we’re seeing it as a rehabilitative intervention for increased and improved hand function.”
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