Eelke Folmer
UNVR Lab
University of Nevada, Reno

VISKI: An Exergame to Improve Balance in Children who are Blind

In recent years, non-visual exergames have been explored as a promising health intervention method to increase their exercise opportunities. Because vision plays a major role in postural control, individuals who are blind tend to have poor balance. To address this health issue, we developed a novel non-visual skiing exergame that is played using a pressure-sensitive input controller (Wii Balance) and haptic feedback provided using a motion-sensing controller.

How it works

VI Ski is modeled after the Wii Fit Ski Slalom game. The goal of this Slalom game is to ski down a hill the fastest while going through as many gates as possible. We developed a non-visual version of this game using C# and we use the Wii Balance board and two Wii remote controllers. Players stand on the balance board and use the Wii remotes like ski poles gaining speed. The left or right controller will buzz to indicate a gate either on the players left or right side. Players need to lean left or right to ski through the gate. A user study with eleven children who were blind found a significant improvement in balancing skills over a number of trials.
A child who is blind playing the nonvisual skiing exergame.

A child who is blind playing VI Ski.

Publications

Tony Morelli, John Foley, Lauren Liebermann and Eelke Folmer. An Exergame to Improve Balance in Children who are Blind. Foundations of Digital Interactive Games (FDG'14), April 2014.

Acknowledgements:

This research is supported by NSF grant 1118074

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