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Video Game Accessibility Project to Help Blind Children Exercise

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VI Fit tennis demonstration

UNR Assistant Professor Eelke Folmer (right) plays VI Fit tennis with Frieda Aizenman in a demonstration of the exergame he and his team developed with the idea of increasing physical activity for visually impaired children.

Credit: University of Nevada, Reno

University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) researchers have developed motion sensing-based tennis and bowling video games that use physical activity as input and might be useful in the fight against obesity. VI Fit is designed to help visually impaired children become more physically active and healthy through video games.

"Lack of vision forms a significant barrier to participation in physical activity and consequently children with visual impairments have much higher obesity rates and obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes," says UNR professor Eelke Folmer. "Our games are adaptations of the popular Nintendo Wii Sports exercise games that have been modified so they can be played without visual feedback."

VI Tennis uses the gameplay of Wii Sports tennis to provide audio and vibrotactile cues that indicate when to serve and when to return the ball. VI Bowling uses a motor-learning feature that allows players to find the direction in which to throw the ball using vibrotactile feedback. "We found our game to engage children into levels of active energy expenditure that were high enough to be considered healthy, which shows the feasibility of using video games as a health-intervention method," Folmer says.

The tennis and bowling exercise games can be downloaded for free at

From University of Nevada, Reno
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