Game Accessibility

7-128 Software Upgrades the Accessibility of its Library

7-128 Software LogoThe folks at 7-128 Software in Massachusetts have released free upgrades to 25 titles in their already visually impaired-accessible library. The team has improved audio control interfaces and added SAPI voice functionality to their line of products.

SAPI stands for Speech Application Program Interface and all versions of Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and 7 come with at least one SAPI voice. These voices, which are generally used to read on-screen text, are commonly utilized by visually impaired or blind users. Read More...

FWD News: Accessibility Through Hands-Free Gaming

A User Controlling Eye MarioWaterloo Labs, a group of young engineers from Texas, has developed the Eye Mario system which lets users control Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) software using only eye movements. The technology, which can be reproduced by following instructions on the team's website, reads player’s eye position using a technique known as electrooculography (EOG).

At the basis of EOG is the fact that your eyes are polarized. Changing eye position will also modify the electric field surrounding them, which can be interpreted by captors and translated into basic computer signals. Read More...

FWD News: Innovation in Video Game Controllers

A Thermoelectric ControllerWhether used in a medical or accessible setting, video game controllers continue to see their uses diversify as they become more advanced. In one case, doctors are using what looks like a typical game controller to do sensitive heart surgery. The Sensei X Robotic Catheter was developed by Hansen Medical to integrate 3D visualization and motor controls into an innovative new medical tool.

Specialists working with the Sensei system first practice on video simulated hearts and later use the same technology to operate on real patients. Dr. Andrew Kaplan, a Cardiac Electrophysiologist with the Banner Heart Hospital is one of these specialists. According to Kaplan, Sensei’s biggest advantage is that it is less invasive, more successful, and allows for quicker recovery times than traditional surgery. Read More...

Students Aim to Make Wii More Accessible

A Photo of Lindsey KennellEngineering and occupational therapy students from the University of New Hampshire, as well as its group of therapeutic recreation specialists, Northeast Passage, are helping a former women's high school basketball forward to get back into the game. In this case, using the Wii.

In 2006 Lindsey Kennell, a Dover High School senior, was involved in a severe car accident that left her without use of her legs or left arm and only minimal control of her right. She and her family later approached Northeast Passage in hopes of finding new ways to socialize and spend time with her friends in her post-accident state. Read More...