IKEA is partnering with medical wearables company UNYQ to release a line of gaming accessibility products.
UNYQ designs and sells accessibility aids, using 3D printing to create personalized prosthetic limbs and support braces for people with conditions like scoliosis. It developed a method of scanning a person's body to create 3D printed products which perfectly fit them.
IKEA has taken inspiration from this technique for its series of gaming products, called UPPKOPPLA. The prototype products were presented at the company's annual design conference in Sweden, along with an app which measures biometric information.
The series includes customized gaming accessories like textured key caps and a mouse bungee. The caps should be less slippery than regular keyboard caps and the bungee keeps the mouse cord out of the way for precise movements.
There's also a biometric wrist support to improve comfort and prevent wrist strain when typing or gaming. The app will scan your hand using your phone's camera and you can then customize the wrist support to the shape of your body.
These kind of products are traditionally sold to high-level esports competitors, but with its affordable pricing approach IKEA is targeting a broader range of players, including those with mobility issues.
"It's actually striking how unexplored this part of the gaming industry is," says Tommy Ingemarsson, founder and CEO of Area Academy. "Focus has always been on the hardware, and everything else has been ignored."
This is just the latest step in IKEA's accessibility efforts. Previously, the company has offered 3D-printed add-ons for their furniture to improve accessibility, like easier-to-grab handles and lifts to raise couches.
However, IKEA stores are not always welcoming to people with mobility issues. A petition on change.org points out that because the stores are so large, navigating them in a manual wheelchair is exhausting and makes it hard to carry items.
Rather than being available in-store, the new products will be sold exclusively through an IKEA/UNYQ app. In addition to this app, IKEA is overhauling its own main app to let people buy products online, removing the requirement to visit a store.