Posts with tag: blind

Generalized Move to Music Game

| tags: blind, motor impaired, ideas, enabling technology

Here's an idea for a simple game to encourage movement to music. I'm drawing from our Comp 80 class ideas for Generalized DDR .

In this game the player moves to music. Their score depends on how well their movement is synchronized with the music and on how many different moves they made. A more advanced version allows them to play along with the music though various delays will have to be overcome to enable their sounds to be sync'ed with the music. The system keeps track of their score and rewards improvement. Perhaps new tunes get unlocked like in DDR.


Fixing Firefox Flash Foolishness

| tags: blind, motor impaired, programming, enabling technology

Firefox is the only browser I use, so when things don't work, I get worried. We're looking at Flash as a delivery vehicle for some of our applications for people with disabilities and ran into two potential show stoppers:

  1. Flash doesn't get focus unless you click on it with the mouse; many of our potential users don't use mice!
  2. Flash doesn't allow access to right click; many switch interfaces generate left and right click events to signal the user pressing the mover or chooser switch.

I surfed around a bit expecting to find some quick solution and only found despair. It seems that lots of people have encountered these problems in various forms and haven't found a solution.

I've found a very simple approach that works just fine for what we need; perhaps it will help someone else. The high bit is I'm using the Flash ExternalInterface object to allow JavaScript to catch keyboard and mouse events and then tell Flash about them. Flash never gets the focus and doesn't need it.


Hark the Sound Statistics

| tags: blind, enabling technology

Diane asked, so I decided to process our server logs to find out how many times our game for children who are blind and visually impaired, Hark the Sound , has been downloaded and, if possible, the country that requested it.

The quick summary is that Hark the Sound has been downloaded by 1537 unique IP addresses, we have mailed 169 CDs to the US and 9 to other countries, and we have given away over 500 at workshops. We encourage people to make their own copies so we must be approaching 3000 installed versions in the field.

Identifying the geographic location associated with an IP address is a shaky proposition but I decided to try anyway. I used the database at to extract the following stats.

Hark has been downloaded by IP addresses in 70 countries and 46 US States. The countries I can identify include:


Target issues for a web-cam switch

| tags: blind, deaf, enabling technology

I can reliably detect many simple targets and generate key events in real time using a web-cam and an ordinary piece of paper with printed targets. What are the important characteristics of the targets?

  1. They must be meaningful to the user.
  2. They must be detectable and easily distinguished from whatever will obscure them by the computer.
  3. They must have an associated key, mouse or other event to control the computer.


An inexpensive tactile Braille display and keyboard with reciprocity

| tags: blind, enabling technology, ideas, literacy

I describe an idea for a simple and inexpensive tactile display and keyboard for Braille. The key simplification enabling this design is displaying Braille on six finger tips instead of as six tiny dots under one finger tip. The display is arranged in the same format as standard Braille embossers so users read and write in a reciprocal fashion. The display and keyboard might be useful for teaching Braille to blind children, as a communication system for deaf-blind people, and as a reading aid for blinded adults whose fingers are not sufficiently sensitive to read traditional Braille.


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