Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Digital Wheel Art
Younghyun Chung
2nd Author
3rd Author
Master of Professional Studies
Number of Pages
New York University
Thesis Supervisor
Kathleen Wilson
Supervisor e-mail
Ksw2 AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Marianne Petit
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Tisch School of Arts
Languages Familiar to Author
English, Korean, Japanese
URL where full thesis can be found
Assistive Technology, New Media Art, Physical Computing, Art Therapy, Art Education
Abstract: 200-500 words
In this paper, I describe the design development of a digital drawing tool for individuals with disabilities, particularly those who are confined to wheelchairs. My thesis project is based on the belief that everyone has the desire and right to self-expression. Human expression can take many forms: drawing, playing musical instruments, singing, dancing, writing, etc. However, there are many people who want to express themselves but cannot easily do so because of physical disabilities. Digital Wheel Art (2008) is an interactive design that uses assistive technology (including physical computing, wireless communication, and computer programming) to help individuals with disabilities express themselves in artistic ways. It also gives general audiences an opportunity to explore and rethink disabilities through art. I designed a system that allows people to draw paintings using their wheelchairs. The system hardware includes motion tracking and wireless communication devices, while the software consists of several drawing effects, and save and replay functions. User tests during at each step of the developmental process were conducted to design the most effective input interface vis-à-vis the specific needs of different wheelchair-bound individuals with disabilities as well as environmental constraints where the drawing usage would be taken. Infrared LEDs and a Nintendo® WiiTM Remote controller, also known as a Wiimote, are used to track the wheelchair movements. My prototype also includes Bluetooth® technology to communicate between the motion tracking device and the software. The movement of the wheelchair is used as a virtual brushstroke, which is projected onto a large screen. In several user tests, individuals used their wheelchairs to draw abstract paintings, which were projected in real-time on a wall.