0. Introduction

0.1 What is a ChairJam?

A ChairJam is a Game Jam / Hardware Hackathon for creating entertainment experiences with wheelchairs, such as games, music, performances, and art. Teams of participants with diverse skills and abilities will co-design experiences that explore the expressiveness of contemporary mobility devices. The first ChairJam  was held October 18th-20th, 2019 in Pittsburgh. 


This effort spawned out of a desire to bring people together. There is a fundamental lack of understanding on the part of the able-bodied about wheelchairs and their users. There is a common misconception that wheelchairs are just utilitarian medical devices, when  in fact they can be a lot of fun. At a ChairJam, teams work together to bring some of that joy to light.

0.2 What is Co-Design?

A core value of a ChairJam is Co-Design. Co-Design is design with a demographic, not for a demographic. This is particularly important for a ChairJam. The only people who really understand the thoughts and desires of wheelchair-users are the users themselves. For that reason, every team at a ChairJam must have at least one wheelchair-user. This not only improves the quality of all resulting prototypes, but has the effect of giving everyone on the team a greater mutual understanding and respect for one another, regardless of ability.