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Engineers develop tool to make gaming more inclusive for gamers with disabilities

5:15 am by | 0 Comments

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AbleGamers, a nonprofit foundation in support of developing tools for physically disabled gamers, estimated that there are 33 million gamers with disabilities. A couple of University of Pennsylvania engineering students have developed a device to increase access to gaming for people with limited dexterity.

Dalton Banks and Noam Eisen of Bansen Labs demoed their devices at Penn Medicine’s Entrepreneur Forum this week.

The first prototype, the Haxbox, is designed as an input to adapt gaming control devices for any game system. It is planning to launch a Kickstartr campaign this summer to support its development. It is designed for the 33 million gamers with disabilities, according to data from AbleGamers Foundation, a non-profit foundation in support of developing tools for physically disabled gamers.

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“We want everyone to be able to play games,” said Noam Eisen, Bansen Labs co-founder. “We feel like this is a social leveler for people otherwise relegated to not the mainstream.”

It has also developed gaming controls that are designed with different levels of mobility in mind. One control helps make wrist action easier for people with limited mobility in their arm. In an effort to expand new uses for the Haxbox it plans to launch it as part of an open source project.

Bansen Labsis celebrating the start of TechWeek by offering slots to play Tetris on the side of the Cira Center building in Philly using its gaming console. Folks interested in taking part should contact its website or Twitter handle @BansenLabs.

The gaming trend in healthcare tends to focus on behavior change, such as improving adherence or making healthier decisions. Others have used gaming for physical therapy. But few have taken Haxbox’s approach of making any game more accessible to more people. In addition to physically disabled gamers it offers potential as a physical therapy tool for people recovering from surgery or in other situations.

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Stephanie Baum

By Stephanie Baum

Stephanie Baum is the East Coast Innovation Reporter for MedCityNews.com. She enjoys covering healthcare startups across health IT, drug development and medical devices and innovations deployed to improve medical care. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and has worked across radio, print and video. She's written for The Christian Science Monitor, Dow Jones & Co. and United Business Media.
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