In today's capitalistic economy, there is a real push to make products that will yield the greatest profit. This often results in targeting games to a main stream audience with a larger number of consumers. However, this leaves minorities with a shortage of fun, worthwhile games to play. This is especially a problem for the blind community. While sighted children are out having fun and getting exercise, blind children are left sitting around. As a result, their muscles don't develop as well as they should and, even more importantly, they aren't having fun!
One of the most famous games is Dodgeball. Growing up, everyone had their dodgeball memories, whether good or bad. But, either way, it was a fundamental part of childhood. We thought, how could this be translated to the blind world. In our game, instead of avoiding a thrown ball, the objective is to dodge a sound that appears to be thrown at you.
Did it work?
When we started working on this, we knew that we could create a 3D sound environment. The issue, we thought, was in tracking the player to see if he or she avoided the ball. However, our tracking scheme works fairly well. The sound turned out to be the problem. We want this game to work on commodity equipment and it is difficult with just a left and right speaker to really tell where the ball is coming from.
With that said, the game works to a reasonable degree. The player hears a sound and can avoid it. The game then gives him or her feedback on his or her performance.
The exciting news is that our simple tracking technology works. Perhaps dodgeball isn't the best application of them. The camera only updates the player's position 2 or 3 times per second which makes it tough to accurately track the player. But, we've thought about applying this to "whack-a-mole," another project from our class, simon says, or a virtual drum set where the player's hand position indicates which drum to play.
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