Creating a place where kids of all abilities can play together

By | December 13, 2019

While adaptive sports provide opportunities for children with mobility disabilities to participate in athletic events, these games are not designed for competitive play between kids with disabilities and those without. iGYM, an augmented reality game system created by a team of U-M researchers, is looking to change that.

The current implementation of the system resembles soccer — or a life-size game of air hockey — with a court projected on the floor by two ceiling-mounted projectors and a goal on either side. An overhead computer vision camera detects each player and surrounds them with a “peripersonal circle,” which they can use to hit a projected ball or puck toward the other player’s goal.

Led by Roland Graf, associate professor at the Stamps School of Art & Design, iGym aims to create a truly inclusive environment for children to play and exercise together. “Our vision with the system is to make it as simple and affordable as possible so it can be installed and switched on like any video projector or light fixture in a school gym or community center,” Graf said.