Computer game for the blind, an innovative creation of two young researchers

Two graduates developed “Neri Farm,” a game designed to blind people. It is based on the sounds that guide participants. They can also play with normal vision, and is suitable for any age. It can be downloaded for free and poses the basis for future work, also aimed at blind people.

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Seeing him, it’s hard not to think of the Pac Man, the classic game released by Namco in 1980, in which the character (a yellow pizza with a missing portion?) Eating dots and ghosts escaped. But “The farm Neri” has something very, very different from the historical maquinita: although it is a farmer who runs a maze collecting animals escaping from a wolf, is designed and created for the blind.

The development was carried out by two recently received from the Department of Science and Computer Engineering, National University of the South (White Bay) (Argentina) as final thesis professionals: Yésica Sacristan -of the Bachelor of Science and Computation Stephanie Güimil -of Systems- Engineering.

The game can be downloaded for free and free from the http://vyglab.cs.uns.edu.ar/lagranjadeneri/ site and is one of the few proposals for the blind free of charge that exists in the computer world. In addition, the site includes a user’s manual that for now is in text, to help sighted people who lack this sense of play and become familiar with it.

“The idea came with a blind friend who does not have some games rather than consoles Sega. We came to do something for him, but also for those that are able to handle sounds. First we conducted a research on human-computer interaction, and then develop the game, “explains Research Yésica to Argentina.

“Our experience is based more on the view that in the ear, and this paradigm shift was not easy. Each visual element should be translated into words or sounds. Work sued six months and the correction of many details, “he added. The game interface is based on the sounds they make different animals and indicating the places where the player can move. It also has a voice that assists the blind and a graphical interface to allow the inclusion of family and friends. “La Granja de Neri” has a “black screen” mode, so they can play people with normal vision. It has three levels: “Easy”, in which the wolf chasing farmer moves to any square; “Normal”, in which the wolf will always go in the direction that is closest to the farmer; and “Hard”, which combines the previous two: the maze has two wolves that move according to the options Easy and Normal. Mazes by the character change as culminating in each stage is shifted.

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(Photo: Argentina Research)

To catch the animal, the farmer will only have to stand on the same square as this. Once trapped, the player will hear the voice that tells you what animal caught and how many you have left to meet the target. For example: “You found a cow. They left 9 “. If the wolf is near, the sound is heard at different volumes, depending on distance. If a player catches the wolf there are two possible scenarios: if the farmer had animals, loose random positions vaciándoles the corral. If it had, the game ends with the classic voice “Game over.”

“While it is designed for small children, because it develops with animals, we tried with adults and very funny,” says the graduate. Both professionals are brand new and have bahienses 27 years.

The creators called their work “Human Computer Interaction in blind people”, and carried out under the supervision of Dr Martin Larrea and Dana Urribarri Laboratory Research and Development Visualization and Computer Graphics. Part of his research involved the study of how blind people interact with computers.

“There are two important contributions to this work: first the game, which is available in a free way, and secondly that they did research raises the foundation for future work, also aimed at blind people,” says Larrea .

“To understand the challenges facing a job like this you have to think that the interfaces that we provide electronic devices are based heavily on a paradigm of visual communication. However, when considering a user who does not have a visual capacity or it is seriously diminished, it is very limited supply of applications and get in some domains to be zero, “the teacher.

According to him, “this project generated a result that goes beyond the university. Besides making an investigation and a report, also they developed software that aims to improve the quality of life of blind people, offering them a game designed for them. “

“We found that working with disabled people is very satisfying for the return that you have tested the game and when they realize that they can develop as any other activity,” concludes Yésica. (Source: Argentina Research)

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