Advances in artificial intelligence have spurred the development of smart devices to help people overcome physical and cognitive challenges. And, this may just be the beginning.
Luis Peña, a video game buff and a quadriplegic, is a former U.S. Border Patrol agent in Casa Grande. Injured on the job in 2007, he missed playing video games after he recovered so he created and patented a video game controller for people with similar injuries. He formed a company called LP Accessible Technologies, which focuses primarily on building game controllers for disabled people. The LP Pad is similar to an Xbox remote control, only it is much bigger. Compatible with the Xbox 360, the controller operates through Bluetooth technology, and can also be hooked up to a “chin stick” for users with very limited motor skills in their hands. Although it is big in size, it weighs less than 1 pound. The controller is made to sit on the gamer’s lap, and features large buttons that work by brushing a hand across them. This works for people with spinal cord injuries who can only push with pressure for a couple seconds.
Peña hopes to have this device fully developed within a year, with a licensing agreement from Microsoft. Peña is currently showing the capabilities of the video game controller to disabled people across the country. The controllers sell for $399.99 and can be purchased here.
Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.