Many Veterans and their supporters play video games for recreation as well as for exercise and assistance during occupational therapy sessions.  Some of these Veterans are faced with a number of complex conditions, each with specific limitations. These conditions can impact their ability to use their hands and arms. Unfortunately, some of these differently-abled Veterans, cannot make the motions required or press the correct buttons easily in certain motion tracking game controllers, such as the Wii controller.

To help better support Veterans with this issue, VA is launching an open innovation challenge on the global innovation marketplace InnoCentive, where creative minds solve some of the world’s most important problems.

AT Logo.jpgThe organizers of the VA Innovation Creation Series are asking solvers external to the VA to create ways of reassigning motions and buttons on gaming controllers in order to provide alternative access for Veterans who may be using them in therapy to improve eye hand coordination, fine motor control and/or range of motion. The system should be wireless, simple to use, adaptable, and be able to adjust for limited ranges of motion and motion in a different direction. Our goal is to take some of these ideas to a final prototype after the challenge – we cannot wait to see the solutions developed that can help transform care and quality of life for Veterans! We hope to open-source the designs developed as part of this challenge so that the greater public can use them as well!

 Submissions should try to meet the following requirements:

  1. The system should be wireless, not limited by wire length. Motion tracking game controllers, such as the Wii controller, need to remain in their current wireless state.
  2. The solution needs the ability to interface external wireless buttons to be used in place of buttons on the controllers.
  3. The re-assignment/configuration interface should be very easy to use.
  4. Successful solutions will balance form and function while keeping cost reasonable; creating something that is able to be used in everyday life without hesitation or frustration.
  5. Preference given to configuration interfaces that display on the same screen as the video game is being played on.

VACI_logo_full.jpgThis is the first challenge launched on the platform InnoCentive through VA Center for Innovation’s interagency agreement with the NASA Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation. This represents the last online challenge as part of the Assistive Technology and Prosthetic Challenge of the VA Innovation Creation Series, where our aim is to accelerate development of personalized technologies to improve care and quality of life for Veterans. This newest challenge was launched at the recent make-a-thon event of the VA Innovation Creation Series. To learn more about that event, take a look at this site summarizing the amazing impact that it had on creating open-sourced designs for Veterans, Servicemembers, and the greater public!

You can learn more about the challenge here!

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Published on Aug. 13, 2015

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