A love for virtual reality
Quadcade is a Virtual Reality gallery of playable minigames designed specifically for quadriplegics to play. Interning at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), my good friend, Nastia Garachtchenko, and I were tasked with developing a VR game that quadriplegics could play while recovering from critical injuries at the hospital.
Because quadriplegics have no use of their limbs, the game is played with a “Quadstick.” A Quadstick is a controller that’s used with your mouth. It acts as a joystick that can be tilted around with your lips and takes in button inputs through means of breathing: sip, soft sip, puff, etc. For example, in Quadcade, there is an archery minigame where the player must shoot targets. By tilting the Quadstick around, the player can take aim, and puffing into the stick will charge up and launch arrows. Even being paralyzed from the neck down, you can very much play and enjoy Quadcade.
After Nastia and I had finished doing our part on the game (basic development, art, and research), the project was passed over to two other students: Christian Herman and Kiera Boyle. They would go on to refine UI, visual assets, and possibly implement a system of communications into the game.
We worked closely with Joshua, a quadriplegic paralyzed from the neck down due to spinal injuries. Through his experiences with gaming in his physical state, we learned a lot and got great feedback from his playtest with the game.
We met and worked alongside a handful of hospital staff and patients. Dr. Sarah Murthi of Shock Trauma (in the pink on the far right) gave us a lot of input on hospital life as a patient, and provided great resources for research.