Eelke Folmer
University of Nevada, Reno

VI-Bowling: A Tactile Spatial Exergame for Players who are Blind

Lack of physical activity is a serious health concern for individuals who are visually impaired as they have fewer opportunities to engage in physical activities. Exergames simulate physical activities and as most physical activities involve performing spatial-temporal challenges, in prior research we evaluated a tactile/audio based tennis exergame called vi tennis that consists of a temporal challenge. In this project we explore performing a spatial challenge using a bowling game.

How it works

VI Bowling implements the gameplay of an upper-body bowling exergame (Wii Sports Bowling) that is played with a Wii remote. Because bowling is self-paced, it consists predominantly of a spatial challenge, e.g., throwing the ball at the pins. Wii Sports Bowling implements the gestures used in bowling, however, players aim their ball by adjusting a visual marker using the arrow keys on their controller that indicates the direction in which their ball will be thrown. The direction of the ball can be adjusted by twisting the Wii remote while throwing, though the direction in which the gesture is performed is not taken into account. VI Bowling implements the same gestures and audio feedback as Wii Sports Bowling, but the spatial challenge is performed using a technique that allows them to sense the direction of the pins using their arm. Players hold the Wii remote in their hand, stretch their arm, and scan their remote along the horizontal plane, like a dowsing rod. Directional vibrotactile feedback (pulse delay) directs the player to point their controller at the location of the pins. Once the location of the pins is acquired, users can perform a gesture that resembles throwing a bowling ball as to hit the pins. The number of pins hit is determined by the error between the direction of the gesture and the direction of the pins. A user study with with six legally blind adults found that the pins could be found on average in 8.8 seconds and players could perform a gesture with an average aiming error of 9.8 degrees.


This game can be downloaded from our VI Fit website. All you need is a $15 Wii remote and a bluetooth compatible PC.


The custom glove we developed with a pager engine attached to each finger
Players find the location of the bowling pins by scanning with a Wii remote in the horizontal plane. The closer the Wii remote points to the location of the pins the more continuous the perception of vibrotactile feedback will feel.


Tony Morelli, John Foley, Eelke Folmer. VI Bowling: A Tactile Spatial Exergame for Individuals with Visual Impairments, In Proceedings of the 12th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS'10) Pages 179-186, Orlando, Florida, October 2010. [29% acceptance rate]