Publication: Designing wheelchair-based movement games

People using wheelchairs have access to fewer sports and other physically stimulating leisure activities than nondisabled persons, and often lead sedentary lifestyles that negatively influence their health. While motion-based video games have demonstrated great potential of encouraging physical activity among nondisabled players, the accessibility of motion-based games is limited for persons with mobility disabilities, thus also limiting access to the potential health benefits of playing these games. In our work, we address this issue through the design of wheelchair-accessible motion-based game controls. We present KINECTWheels, a toolkit designed to integrate wheelchair movements into motion-based games. Building on the toolkit, we developed Cupcake Heaven, a wheelchair-based video game designed for older adults using wheelchairs, and we created Wheelchair Revolution, a motion-based dance game that is accessible to both persons using wheelchairs and nondisabled players. Evaluation results show that KINECTWheels can be applied to make motion-based games wheelchair-accessible, and that wheelchair-based games engage broad audiences in physically stimulating play. Through the application of the wheelchair as an enabling technology in games, our work has the potential of encouraging players of all ages to develop a positive relationship with their wheelchair.




Kathrin Gerling
University of Lincoln
Regan Mandryk
University of Saskatchewan
Matthew Miller Michael Kalyn
University of Saskatchewan
Max Birk
University of Saskatchewan
Jan Smeddinck
University of Bremen, University of Saskatchewan


Gerling, K.M., Mandryk, R.L., Miller, M.K., Kalyn, M., Birk, M., Smeddinck, J.D. 2015. Designing wheelchair-based movement games. In ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing (TACCESS), vol. 6 no. 2, 6. DOI=10.1145/2724729.


@article {364-a6-gerling,
author= {Kathrin Gerling and Regan Mandryk and Matthew Miller and Michael Kalyn and Max Birk and Jan Smeddinck},
title= {Designing wheelchair-based movement games},
booktitle= {ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing (TACCESS)},
year= {2015},
volume= {6},
number= {2},
pages= {6}