The great little MSP430 development environment ($20 for a USB key with attached target board) just got better. Now you can buy more target boards 3 for $10 . Cool!
Posts in category Ideas
Suggested in a meeting with Karen and Gretchen. How about a text-adventure make-your-on-story tool that has simple text on screen and presents a kid with a first person adventure that allows them to make choices and construct a narrative as they go? Like the text-adventure games of old, you're given a starting scenario ("you're outside a house at the end of a road") and allows you to choose whether to enter the house or walk down the road. Ideas include:
Talking with Karen and Gretchen they suggested a talking word processor with the following features.
The Nokia N800 Linux tablet looks very interesting as an ET platform. It could make a cool augcom device. High-functioning users could use the touch screen while children likely to throw things might use a web-cam based input mode. It looks like the camera can be pointed at the user, so the device could sit on the table out of reach with the camera focused on (say) a pad with colored regions in front of the user. Touching these regions could be the users "switches". With fairly loud sound and a not too small screen it might be usable. At $399 it is certainly cheap enough for experiments. Here is a nice video demonstrating some of its capabilities.
I've made the claim that we can drive a small speaker at a low frequency and feel it vibrating.
For $25 we can buy a little USB device that has 6 audio outputs. They intend them as front/back, left/right, and center/bass; this is called 5.1 audio. They provide three standard 3.5mm headphone jacks for plugging in the speakers.
The most frequent request I get from teachers of the visually impaired is help with graphs. Graphs are a part of the curriculum that blind kids don’t get. I contend that simply displaying the graph with touch or sound is not the answer. What is? Could we (semi)automatically extract key points from a graph and convey that information to a student?
Most refreshable Braille displays are constructed with pin-grid arrays like these:
Computer interfaces are mostly sequential. Consider telephone menu systems: enter 1 for parts, enter 2 for service, etc. As another example, when you kill an unresponsive program, Windows XP pops up a dialog asking me if you want to send an error report to MS. You must respond to it before proceeding. An alternative user interface strategy (for both sighted and blind) depends on asynchronous alerts and user responses. Think of the underlining of misspelled words in many editors; it occurs sometime after typing and can be corrected (or not) anytime. Emacspeak has some nice features like this. The presence of a footnote associated with a word is indicated by a audible signal played along with the speech for the word without stopping. The listener can respond to the signal by requesting the footnote be followed or ignore it. A project investigating what is known about asynchronous user interfaces and perhaps a prototype implementation would be really interesting and likely result in a paper.
Concept mapping programs are important literacy tools used by many schools. They are currently inaccessible to people who are only able to use one or two switches for input.
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