Assessment of active video gaming using adapted controllers by individuals with physical disabilities: A protocol

Academic Article


  • Background: Individuals with disabilities are typically more sedentary and less fit compared to their peers without disabilities. Furthermore, engaging in physical activity can be extremely challenging due to physical impairments associated with disability and fewer opportunities to participate. One option for increasing physical activity is playing active video games (AVG), a category of video games that requires much more body movement for successful play than conventional push-button or joystick actions. However, many current AVGs are inaccessible or offer limited play options for individuals who are unable to stand, have balance issues, poor motor control, or cannot use their lower body to perform game activities. Making AVGs accessible to people with disabilities offers an innovative approach to overcoming various barriers to participation in physical activity. Objective: Our aim was to compare the effect of off-the-shelf and adapted game controllers on quality of game play, enjoyment, and energy expenditure during active video gaming in persons with physical disabilities, specifically those with mobility impairments (ie, unable to stand, balance issues, poor motor control, unable to use lower extremity for gameplay). The gaming controllers to be evaluated include off-the-shelf and adapted versions of the Wii Fit balance board and gaming mat. Methods: Participants (10-60 years old) came to the laboratory a total of three times. During the first visit, participants completed a functional assessment and became familiar with the equipment and games to be played. For the functional assessment, participants performed 18 functional movement tasks from the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health. They also answered a series of questions from the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System and Quality of Life in Neurological Conditions measurement tools, to provide a personal perspective regarding their own functional ability. For Visit 2, metabolic data were collected during an initial 20-minute baseline, followed by 40 minutes of game play. The controller (balance board or gaming mat) played was randomly selected. A set of games was played for 10 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of rest, and then another set of games was played for 10 minutes, followed by rest. Quality of game play was observed and documented for each set. During rest, the participant completed questions regarding enjoyment. Following the same procedures, the participant then played the two sets of games using the other version (off-the-shelf or adapted) of the controller. The entire procedure was repeated during Visit 3 with the controller that was not played. Results: Enrollment began in February 2016 and ended in September 2016. Study results will be reported in late 2017. Conclusions: We hypothesized that the adapted versions of the Wii Fit balance board and gaming mat would produce greater quality of game play, enjoyment, and energy expenditure in persons with mobility impairments compared to off-the-shelf versions.
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    Author List

  • Malone LA; Padalabalanarayanan S; McCroskey J; Thirumalai M
  • Volume

  • 6
  • Issue

  • 6