Using an app co-developed at Ryerson, wheelchair users can play capture the flag. PHOTO: Carmen Branje

Let the Mobility Games begin

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By Bradly Shankar

Running around and playing Capture the Flag might seem like an easy game to play, but for those bound to wheelchairs, it’s a different story.

Thanks to a new app for Samsung Galaxy devices called Mobility Games, disabled players will have more ease during play.

Mobility Games was developed by researchers, students and staff from Ryerson University, Centennial College and Bridgepoint Active Healthcare. Players download the Mobility Games onto their devices and attach them to wheelchair mounts. As players move in real-time, the game uses global tracking system (GPS) navigation to send coordinates to the wheelchair, which moves their avatar on a map onscreen. Mobility Games is developed at the Inclusive Media Design Centre (IMDC) at Ryerson.

Margot Whitfield, a co-investigator and IMDC assistant, said capture the flag is only part of a much larger whole of what inclusive technologies are capable of.

“There are many other ways in which we’re trying to make accessible and beneficial technology for those with disabilities,” Whitfield said. “The possibilities are vast.”

According to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, more than 11 per cent of Canadians are living with a form of physical disability. Dr. Paula Gardner, an affiliate scientist with Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, said this project responds to a need for technology to be inclusive.

Gardner recalled an elderly participant in a wheelchair who went with her grandson during a testing session.

“Because of her disability, she wasn’t able to partake in many physical activities with him,” Gardner said. “With Mobility Games, they were able to play together in a way that was never possible for them before.”

While Mobility Games was made available from Samsung’s app store this year, IMDC is working to have the app on iOS and Android soon.

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