The NEC Foundation of America has awarded a $32,000 grant to the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) “to support the dissemination and use of therapeutic video games to serve children with severe sensory and motor disabilities,” according to NJIT’s press release.
The website for NJIT’s Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) says that:
The video game platform contains games with programmable graphics objects. Each game piece behaves in a preprogrammed fashion, following specified rules. These rules may alter movement pattern, changing shape, color or size and even disappearing altogether. Each game piece is capable of assessing its environment and calculating its distance from the nearest object in a specified direction.
The games will use a webcam to analyze player input, and also that this input will be judged on color rather than body movement:
A color detection algorithm for red green and blue markers has been developed to act as the user’s input. A colored marker can be anything the child can grasp, wear or attach to themselves like colored tape or a Velcro band.
Judging responses on color rather than body movement will make it easier for people with non-standard ways of moving to play.
According to director of the RERC Richard Foulds, PhD. “The game will improve neuro-plasticity through intensive and repetitive training.” More than 50 partners will receive and test the software.