Earlier this month, IKEA and partners announced a new line of gaming prototypes, UPPKOPPLA, that is meant to improve the gaming experience for people with a wide range of abilities and preferences.
The new line of accessories will use 3D-printing to target the physical needs of gamers. To accomplish this, IKEA is teaming up with UNYQ, a design company specializing in 3D-printed medical products and devices, and Area Academy, an e-sport company known for their educational focus.
According to a UNYQ press statement, there are roughly "2.2 billion gamers around the world playing for a total of 14 billion hours per week. Gamers spend a large portion of their time online, sitting for hours on end, which can lead to massive physical strain on the body."
To combat this, it is possible to build products after different physical needs and preferences, IKEA says. Gamers will use an app that is designed to scan their body, measure biometric information, and create products that fit them perfectly.
The game-focused line, which is expected to be available for sale in 2020, will start with three personalized products, says UNYQ:
- "A biometric wrist support which maintains the correct height of the gamers’ wrist to the keyboard, reducing strain on their tendons;
- Soft pliable, vented keycaps which make the keyboard feel like a physical extension of a gamers’ fingers; and
- A portable mouse 'bungee' which clamps the users’ mouse cable in place, preventing tangling and enabling full freedom of movement."
Because of the 3D-printing technology being used, the lineup is expected to remain affordable. The immediate benefits to the gaming community, particularly those with mobility disabilities or other physical pain or strain are not hard to see; but one also can't help but imagine the possibilities and additional advancements this might lead to.
"There are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding gamers. In fact, it is a large group of people in all ages where gaming is even a full-time job for some”, says Michael Nikolic, Creative leader at IKEA of Sweden.
So often in digital accessibility, the focus is on tasks that people assume other people must do — online banking, e-commerce, those types of things. This shines a light on and hopefully opens the door a little more for the passion that people bring to video games and the stress-relief, fun, and even career opportunities that video games bring to people.
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