Wheelchair
Lasertag

For this project, I partnered with Courage League, a special needs gym for children with physical and mental disabilities.

The Goal:

Design a wheelchair game that could be used by a person of almost any ability.

 

Observations

Play between Wheelchairs and Non-Wheelchairs

I sat in on multiple sessions of kickball and other playground games, I saw kids in wheelchairs have a tough time playing games with other children because of:

Kids in wheelchairs would have to be handed the ball by someone else to play

The game would have to slow down or relax the rules to accommodate the wheelchair players

The games weren't designed with wheelchairs in mind from the start, so the kids had difficulty adapting

Wheelchair Specific Games

The main wheelchair-based game the kids would play is Wheelchair Soccer. With 4 wheelchairs in the facility, we would play games of 2 v. 2 soccer, as well as run normal practice drills of ball control and passing.

They weren't built for this sort of movement, therefore it was difficult to control the ball

All you needed was the joystick to move the wheelchair, therefore soccer was incredibly simple to play

 

 

Running a cones passing drill

Conclusion

The level of play between children in wheelchairs and those not in wheelchairs is at a disconnect. When kids in wheelchairs tried to interact with kids running around, the games were stagnant and not as immersive or fun. With a game designed exclusively for wheelchairs, we could give the kids a chance to have immersive, competitive play.

 

Affordances

Caregivers

Ages: 16-45

Disabled children need assistance getting in and out of their wheelchairs, but also leaders and teachers to run games and enable them to gain confidence and have a good experience.

 

Children

Ages 5-16

The kids at courage league had both physical and mental disabilities. The children in electric wheelchairs mostly had physical disabilities and used electric wheelchairs to move quickly and play with other kids while on the ground. They would need assistance moving in and out of their day-to-day wheelchairs with the help of caregivers. 

What if there was a game that didn't favor physical ability?

This is possible with electric wheelchairs

Courage leage has 4 wheelchairs. They only require one hand to fully operate. 

Each machine is identical, nobody has an advantage over anyone else. A game that only uses the electric wheelchairs would be fair for anybody, regardless of ability level.

 

In collaboration with Courage League, we came up with a game that had action, rewarded wheelchair dexterity, and brought a new experience to kids who have limited mobility: wheelchair lasertag

Gameplay

 

1.
Attach lasertag equipment

 

2.
Organize kids, choose teams, ready up

 

3.
Play until a team is eliminated

Positioning and Vulnerability

This game rewards positioning. Players can "block" shots by angling their wheelchair and vulnerable spots out of the line of fire.

Moving behind this player was successfull because the attacker was able to get a line of sight on the targets vulnerable areas. 

AffordancesAffordances

Ambidextrous Electronics

The hardware needs to adapt to both sides of the wheelchair because many kids didn't have full control over both hands.

All someone needs is control of one hand to play on an adaptable system. 

Status Indicators

Using light, sound, and vibrations, the guns clearly indicate to the players what mode they are in. Having multiple modes of feedback wherever possible was a priority, to reduce confusion.

Team Switch

Team color is toggled with a switch on the laser tag control module

Ready Up

The ready button locks in the team choice and flashes green. Players have a short time to position themselves before system becomes active

Hit!

Their gun is disabled, they are immune, and their blaster flashes red for 3 seconds. The speaker makes an alert and the joystick vibrates.

Form Details