Having a physical disability as a child isn’t easy. This is especially true when you can’t play active sports like most of your peers. With AR technology, however, that problem could be eliminated, and more children can experience sports and get in on the fun.
Everyone can play together
iGYM is a new augmented reality system designed for use in schools or in community-level sports. The playing field is replaced by a virtual system, almost like classic games such as Pong. When a ball gets close to a child in a wheelchair, they can knock it back toward their opponent’s goal. If that opponent has full yes of their legs, they can still do a kicking motion to knock the ball back the other way. Those with less leg or arm function can also push a button that triggers the “peripersonal circle” around them, and they can still knock the ball away.
This way, everyone can play together instead of separating them into groups based on ability level. Rather than need any goggles, this AR system uses projection technology. It’s almost like you would use in a classroom to display a slide.
A computer vision camera is located above the playing space. This gives a bird’s eye view of the action that allows it to determine when someone is coming in contact with the ball. The score is kept in the middle of the field so both sides can keep track as they go.
iGYM is being developed by a team of interdisciplinary researchers at the University of Michigan. They include professors in the School of Art & Design, as well as the College of Engineering and School of Information.
According to ClickOnDetroit, the iGYM development team is hoping to bring the system to schools and community centers in the future. Right now, their tests have them very excited for its potential in increasing accessibility options. Those interested in assisting can contact the team on the official website.