Blind Gamers Benefit from University Project

Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have developed motion-sensing games that are aimed at increasing the activeness of blind children.

The VI Fit project currently has two adapted titles available for download, VI Tennis and VI Bowling. Both games utilize the Nintendo Wiimote in combination with a PC (the PC must feature support for Bluetooth or a Bluetooth dongle can be used). VI Tennis was upgraded to include audio and vibrotactile clues that help to indicate when a player should serve or return a shot, while VI Bowling uses vibrotactile feedback to assist gamers in finding the appropriate direction to aim their bowling ball.

Research team leader, and assistant professor, Eelke Folmer, stated, “Lack of vision forms a significant barrier to participation in physical activity and consequently children with visual impairments have much higher obesity rates and obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes.”

Executables for both games can be downloaded from the VI Fit webpage free of charge.

A previous university project adapted Guitar Hero for use by the blind. Blind Hero also used vibrotactile feedback, though in a glove for this implementation. The feedback buzzed the appropriate finger to signal that it should be used to press a Guitar Hero controller fret.

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