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, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 699–711 | Cite as

“Learn what we’re going through”: attitudes of older powered chair users towards mixed reality games that involve power mobility

  • Katie Seaborn
  • Peter Pennefather
  • Deborah I. Fels
Long paper


Older powered chair users’ perceptions on and attitudes towards mixed reality and modern facilitating technologies, such as tablets and smartphones, was explored to inform the design of mixed reality games that involve power mobility. Eleven older powered chair users (aged 55 and over) were interviewed in focus groups about their knowledge of, adoption of, experiences with, attitudes about, preferences for, and interest in these topics. Questionnaire and interview data were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. Findings suggest that community-dwelling older powered chair users are a technologically forward group that use or are interested in trying new technologies and interaction paradigms, with key barriers being identity mismatch, affordability, and social acceptability. Although they did not see their use of powered chairs, new technologies, and digital entertainment as an integrated system, participants were receptive to the idea of synchronizing assistive and non-assistive technologies for the purpose of social entertainment, advanced training, and/or promoting understanding and empathy in others. In particular, the concept of a game-based mixed reality platform designed around performance mastery for older powered chair users and empathy training for able-bodied friends and family members was well-received. Initial resistance due to identity mismatch or lack of knowledge was mitigated through explanation and examples.


Power mobility Older adults Technology use Games and entertainment Social interaction Mixed reality Inclusive design 



This work was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Thanks to Joseph Moscatiello for his help with data analysis and reliability testing. Special thanks to Variety Village and Sherri Risto for helping with recruitment and providing space to run the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katie Seaborn
    • 1
  • Peter Pennefather
    • 2
  • Deborah I. Fels
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Leslie Dan Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Ted Rogers School of ManagementRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada

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