Mark Felling speaks at Grand Opening of Fun-IE-Fit Inclusion Rehabilitation Center in the Netherlands with large Video Gaming Rehabilitation Program

Last week Mark Felling, President, Broadened Horizons Inc. designer and manufacturer of the world’s broadest line of adapted video game controllers was asked to speak at the Grand Opening of Fun-IE-Fit Inclusion Rehabilitation Center in the Netherlands.  They feature a large Video Gaming Gymnasium for active, fun rehabilitation with a focus around social inclusion. the video gaming gymnasium features high-speed Internet connections for competitive gaming between people with similar abilities/disability with other similar centers around the world.  The Grand Opening featured a live, interactive gaming connection with a similar rehabilitation center in Germany.

Mark Felling’s brief message painted a picture of POSSIBILITIES, that through technology and proper alternative user interface design and integration, the only concern need be what a person CAN do ignoring and making irrelevant what they CANNOT do.  Mark’s speech was received with enthusiasm, the audience described as “listening breathlessly”,  anddiscussed on Netherland’s National and Regional News. Mark’s message was delivered through the use of Internet communication technologies, demonstrating a shrinking world where no one need feel isolated and can connect with others and through a shared experience significantly improve and expedite the recovery and rehabilitative process.

The following article discusses the event.  A Google English translation follows.

Guests from all over the country ‘dream’ 

Twenth Three Diamonds May 27, 2013  ORIGINAL ARTICLE

By: Hanny Ter Doest

ALMELO – Omroep MAX and SWGN president Thursday Jan Slagter has opened the brand new FUN-IE-FIT in the Master Siebelink House in his capacity as Ambassador of The Klup Twente. He did so with Alderman Van Woudenbergh. The event was also the world ‘live’ via the internet.

Photo: Coen Mulder

There were almost 200 interested people from all parts of the country to Almelo for the opening. Among them representatives of the Skanfonds, SPZ and NSGK of many companies that have made ​​or paid to the FUN-IE-FIT and members of service clubs events organized to raise money. 

The many guests were given a flashy program presented, including more of the documentary Remco Ditmar on the creation of the FUN-IE-FIT. They heard include the mouth of architect Martin Huiskes LKSVDD architects of how a simple idea for a room with consoles became ‘a dream’, a unique development center for e-sport, e-health and e-learning.

The audience listened breathlessly to develop the conversation with the disabled engineer Mark Felling in America runs a leading company that special tools and applications for people with physical disabilities. Felling follows the FUN-IE-FIT from America with great interest and told under the to be the center and the many possibilities. 

Impression: The dynamic opening program with interviews, music, poetry, witticisms and much information was skilled in lead by another ambassador of The Klup Twente, entertainer, presenter, singer and poet William Gunneman. 

After Slagter stepped through a doorway filled with mega balloons and loud popping the center opened, he played and Alderman Van Woudenbergh the first game with opponents in Germany. Then got the public demonstrations and they could try the FUN-IE-FIT.


[ORIGINAL DUTCH] Guests from all over the country ‘dream’

ALMELO – Omroep MAX en SWGN voorzitter Jan Slagter heeft donderdagmiddag in zijn hoedanigheid van ambassadeur van De Klup Twente het splinternieuwe FUN-IE-FIT in het Meester Siebelinkhuis geopend. Hij deed dat samen met wethouder Van Woudenbergh. Het evenement was in de hele wereld ook ‘live’ te volgen via internet

Twenth Ruiten Drie  27 mei 2013

Door: Hanny Ter Doest

Foto: Coen Mulder

Er kwamen bijna 200 belangstellenden uit alle delen van het land naar Almelo voor de opening. Onder hen vertegenwoordigers van het Skanfonds, SPZ en NSGK, van veel bedrijven die hebben meegeholpen of betaald aan het FUN-IE-FIT en leden van serviceclubs die evenementen organiseerden om geld in te zamelen.

De vele gasten kregen een flitsend programma voorgeschoteld, met onder meer de documentaire van Remco Ditmar over de totstandkoming van het FUN-IE-FIT. Ze hoorden onder meer uit de mond van architect Martin Huiskes van LKSVDD architecten hoe een eenvoudig idee voor een zaaltje met spelcomputers uitgroeide tot ‘een droom’, een uniek ontwikkelcentrum voor e-sport, e-health en e-learning. De zaal luisterde ademloos naar het gesprek met de gehandicapte ingenieur Mark Felling die in Amerika een toonaangevende onderneming runt die speciale hulpmiddelen en toepassingen ontwikkelt voor mensen met een fysieke beperking.

Felling volgt het FUN-IE-FIT vanuit Amerika met grote interesse en vertelde onder de indruk te zijn van het centrum en de vele mogelijkheden.

Het dynamische openingsprogramma met interviews, muziek, dichtkunst, kwinkslagen en veel informatie werd vaardig in goede banen geleid door een andere ambassadeur van De Klup Twente, entertainer, presentator, zanger en dichter Willem Gunneman.
Nadat Slagter door een met megaballonnen gevulde deuropening stapte en luid knallend het centrum opende, speelden hij en wethouder Van Woudenbergh de allereerste game met tegenstanders ìn Duitsland. Aansluitend kreeg het publiek demonstraties en konden ze het FUN-IE-FIT uitproberen.

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Game On! from the Blog of North Dakota Interagency Program for Assistive Technology

Of course we must show off and break up our Partners who take the time to break up our products!  Thank you IPAT, keep up the great work and do not hesitate to let us know how we can help!

Game On!  IPAT ND Assistive Technology Blog

By  FEBRUARY 21, 2013
Mike Haring

A little over two years ago IPAT was contacted by a young man looking for assistance in funding a custom built controller he could use to play video games on his PlayStation. He’d already learned enough about accessible gaming to know that Broadened Horizons, Inc. and its founder, Mark E. Felling, were a great source for such equipment. We were able to provide funding for the purchase of the then custom built “mini ultimate arcade controller” and, with some of his own modifications, he’s still using the controller with his PlayStation to this date.

Fast forward to today and both the video gaming industry and Broadened Horizons are still going strong! If you have any level of mobility impairment due to cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or an injury or a stroke; accessible video game controllers have moved beyond the prototype stage and are now broadly available. With the latest specialized controllers the playing field becomes level for you whether you’re playing at home with friends or online with fellow gamers!

Currently available, the Ultimate Arcade 2 Limited Dexterity video game controller is a customizable controller for gamers with arm movement, but little or no hand dexterity. The medium size unit (16 ½” by 5”, both pieces together) is game and console compatible with PlayStation 2 and 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo GameCube and Wii, and any PC computer. And, with the launch of Sony’s new PlaySation 4, we don’t expect that it will be too long before the Ultimate Arcade 2 is updated!

Video Game-Based Therapy May Help Treat TBI

 |   Original Article

Soldiers and TBI: Video games to help improve cognitive performanceBecause the mere mention of video games can spark controversy—are they or aren’t they the root of all evil?—news about the potential benefits they have on people’s cognitive abilities is not typically shouted from the rooftops.

However, HealthcareIT News recently reported that Kinetic Muscles, Inc. (KMI) has received additional funding from the Department of Defense (DOD) to begin Phase II of their study on the benefits of using video game-based therapies for treatment of military veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Many of us in brain injury rehabilitation have used video games to assist with motor skills training, improve balance and coordination, enhance attention and address other aspects of the significant cognitive and motor problems that people experience after TBI.

Clinical results from Phase I of the study showed that KMI’s Hand Mentor, which helps users increase hand dexterity in an interactive training environment, improved cognitive ability, dexterity, memory, thought processing and reasoning. According to the article, the combination of progressive neuropsychological therapy and high-tech gaming technology is an engaging way for soldiers (most of whom grew up playing video games) to work on rehabilitating the cognitive and movement deficits they experience as a result of TBI.

Of course, this isn’t the first study to suggest that video games might not be so bad after all. Though there are certainly reasons why they have gotten a bad rap over time, several studies have shown that video games help improve hand-eye coordination. Others even suggest that they go beyond improving dexterity, and actually help people improve their cognitive abilities by putting players in situations where they must focus, be patient, be willing to delay gratification, and prioritize resources…that is, it forces them to think. In fact, from surgeons to firefighters to currency traders, more and more professionals are using video games to sharpen their skills.

We know that TBIs are a huge concern for members of our military, and there is a great need to improve treatment and rehabilitation for our soldiers with brain injuries. The promising results from Phase I of KMI’s study, in addition to the prior research on the cognitive benefits of digital gaming technology, suggest that the Hand Mentor could be a useful, engaging and cost-effective way to help our soldiers.

It’ll be interesting to watch what happens as Phase II, which involves clinical testing in VA hospitals, is carried out. Will the study validate the effectiveness of the therapy system? If so, will the use of video game-based therapies as part of the treatment regimen for people with brain injuries begin to spread beyond the VA hospitals’ walls into the communities and homes where our veterans returning home with TBI reside?

The use of video game technology can enable us to take rehab out of the hospital and clinic and into the person’s home where it is more accessible. Video games also reduce some of the stigma associated with brain injury rehab. After all, who wouldn’t want a few hours on the video console?

New Game Aims to Treat Teens Suffering from Depression


Depression is often associated with teens, but many if not all individuals who incur a trama or injury that greatly impacts of changes their life, body, and abilities suffer from depression, feelings of inadequacy, frustration, or even a lack of desire to continue living.  This mourning process may take anywhere from 1-3 years on average, depending on the individual and supports that help them redirect their life on a new track.  The mourning process they go through is the “death” of the closest person to oneself, ones self identity.  A game like this could have farther reaching implications than for teens alone.


(Characters from the game SPARX.)

Most adolescents play video games in order to explore a new world and become engulfed in adventures. While some people view playing video games as a way to become isolated from the world, it is now being used as a way to treat adolescent depression. Project leader Sally Merry, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Auckland University in New Zealand, hopes that her team’s game “SPARX” will help teenagers cope with depression through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The team also hopes that the game can be used as an alternative form of treatment rather than go through traditional counseling, which at times can be intimidating for adolescents especially since most adolescents do not actively seek counseling.

In the game, players create an avatar and explore a fantasy setting fighting monsters that represent negative thoughts with magic and combat. The game has seven levels that can take 30-40 minutes to complete, which is usually the standard time of a routine counseling session, but players can complete each stage at their own pace giving them more control over their own treatment. There is also an in-game mentor who helps the player throughout the game with hints on how to complete each level and also teach the player useful skills they can use, such as anger management, conflict resolution, and breathing relaxation exercises. As the player completes each level, the game world becomes brighter and more cheerful emulating how the player should be feeling as well.

Games have the power to raise a person’s self-esteem by completing in-game tasks, and with this new found self-esteem, there is a feeling of accomplishment that the player can achieve. With this game, there is a chance the player will be able to feel better about themselves, even when they turn off the system.


Action Games Improves Players’ Vision and Multitasking Skills

NPR Report on beneficial side effects of video gaming

(Screenshot of Call of Duty: Black Ops)

The biggest complaint made about action games like “Call of Duty” and “The Elder Scrolls” is that they are too violent and may lead to the players becoming more violent. But recent studies have shown that players who play action games may have positive benefits that can improve vision, attention, and cognition. Daphne Bavelier, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, conducted a study that measured the skills of people that play action games and those that do not play any video games at all. When the study was concluded, it showed that those who do not play video games had lower scores than the video game players on tests measuring attention, speed, accuracy, vision, and multitasking.

“Contrast sensibility”, which is the ability to see subtle shades of gray, was the type of vision that vieo game players had improved. This type of vision is incredibly useful when people are driving through fog. Smaller type size was also improved when tested with people who do not play video games. Gamers were also able to detect new information at a faster rate making gamers more efficient. Gamers were also able to switch from one task to another ata faster rate making them better multitaskers.

The reason gamers need to improve these skills while playing video games is because there is so much going on in the screen that the gamers need to constantly be thinking. Not only are they paying attention to what is happening on the screen, they are also trying to complete the goal of the game, whatever it may be. With so many complexitities happening all at one time, it is no wonder that gamers need to improve their cognitive abilitites to play these types of action games.


Video Games being used as Intergenerational Tool

Here at Broadened Horizons we were initially surprised 4 years ago that the far majority of our adaptive game controllers are sold to adults, and not only 20-year-olds but many in their 40s, 50s, and 60s!  But it makes sense, when your body physically limits you from going out and playing baseball or football with your children or grandchildren, video games are the equalizing factor that open up a detailed discussion on football strategy between father and son or for a friendly game of baseball.  Amongst disabled children, Broadened Horizons adaptive game controllers “equalize playing field” quite literally amongst siblings, friends, and classmates.  It is great to see others “getting it”!


(Child playing with grandparent.)

Video games have had a bad reputtion with the mainstream media as something of a waste of time or something that does not provide anything positive for the player. This description of video games is almost the same thing people were saying about television when it was first introduced to the world. No one really knew what to make of the television because it was so new and no one would even think about the potential it could have. Parents were especially weary of the effects television would have on their children, they believed it was extremely harmful for their children to be watching television. That is, until “Sesame Street” was introduced to the world.

Sesame Street showed the potential of television as a teaching medium for children and adults alike. They knew the interactive element of television would be beneficial for children to learn in a new and exciting way. That is what video games are doing right now. With parents worrying about the effects of video games on their children, researchers are testing the effects of intergenerational gameplay, which is when adults play video games with children. In 2009, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the University of Southern California found that kids were more engaged in learning more about technology as they played along. This shows active engagement for both the adult and the child showing that interactive media is benefical for both generations.

In order for intergenrationalgameplay to be effective, the games need to be designed for learning purposes, like Sesame Street was designed for learning purposes. It is not only effective for children to play with adults, when children were playing games with their grandparents, there was more engagement for both generations as well.

(Original Article: Slate.Com and Games4Rehab)