Development platform for elderly-oriented tabletop games


Peripherals are one of the most common obstacles when talking about computers and elderly people. This thesis stands on the notion that Natural User Interfaces and Games may contribute to a solution to this problem and studies how this can become true. It was conducted using a tabletop as the research device.

The main techniques and relevant frameworks available, commonly associated with the use of tabletop technology, are studied in order to predict which combination of those is the most beneficial to the project and to the end-user. Hardware and software tests, as well as low-fidelity prototypes were designed and used to examine which input mechanisms could be implemented on the final application. This also enabled a better understanding of what benefits older adults would have, by using these types of interaction.

With the observations made and results obtained from the tests performed, some gaming aspects were identified as more common among several potentially interesting game types. A framework for game development was conceptualized and created considering those results. In order to test the framework created, a game especially conceived for older adults was designed and implemented on top of the framework. The game implementation is described in adequate detail to this project and its validation process is explained in order to confirm its usefulness to the end-user. The validation process revealed some aspects in which the game could be improved, however, these modifications did not require any change to the framework’s concepts or implementation. This process also indicated that the usage of the tabletop can promote social interaction and cognitive and motor stimulation, as intended.


Author: Tiago Marques

Type: MSc thesis

Partner: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto

Year: 2011