Vassilis Giannakopoulos
PROJECT: games for the blind - leap

Games : Blindness : Intelligent-Interfaces : Multimodal-Interfaces : Low-vision : Blind :

About the project:
Electronic Games for Blind Children using auditory interfaces (binaural sound)

The Problem:
There are many games that help kids of all ages to become familiar with technology, opening new horizons in education and knowledge. But when it comes to blind children ... the picture changes. The last 2 years, our work with blind children and their teachers has taught us that the need for electronic games is incredible. There are not enough quality games for these children, thus they are deprived of something important: the right to play and learn through playing. Simultaneously, these children are not familiarised with computers and they don’t develop important skills in time. So, we wanted to change this by creating a series of serious purpose computer games, which aim at: - increasing the blind children’s familiarization with the computer, making it accessible with a pleasant and interesting way, - entertaining children in a substantial way, well-matched to their needs, while contributing to their education, - improving their sense of space and orientation, - highlighting their specific skills, expanding their opportunities and ultimately strengthening their self-confidence, - developing their autonomy and self-sufficiency, - helping social integration, interaction with their social environment, and with sighted children.

The Solution:
We created a series of Games for the Blind. The first game, Tic Tac Toe, teaches children to use basic keys of PC and also how to move to a two-dimensional sound space With Tennis, children sense the movement and speed of sound through three dimensions and interact within it (binaural processing). --------Description-------- --------Tic-Tac-Toe-------- In Tic-Tac-Toe, the player plays the well-know game, but instead of “X’s and “O”s, (s)he listens to sounds with the help of headphones. The game is played on a 2-dimensional board (a virtual Tic-Tac-Toe board). One of the innovations of the game is that the sound is binaural, which means that gives the user the impression it “comes” from a specific direction, thus helping him/her better get a sense of direction (e.g. the position of the “X”) and enriching the game experience. Simultaneously, the matrix of the Tic-Tac-Toe, along with the “X”s and “O”s are displayed on the screen with specially selected colours for two reasons: help sighted users understand the progress of the player, and allow players with low vision use their eyes to play the game. --------Tennis-------- In Tennis, the user tries to catch get the ball that comes towards him/her. The game is played on a 3-dimensional board (a virtual Tennis field). Use of binaural sound and a visual element is again used here for the aforementioned reasons. ----------------Affordability and replicability---------------- The games are available to download for free at --- --- The portal is designed to be friendly to people with visual impairments, including blindness. The games are available in two languages (English and Greek), for Windows, MAC OS X and Linux. We even made it very easy for other developers /users to add more languages, as described in GitHub. Therefore, we tackled the replicability issue in 2 ways: 1) anyone can download it and play it for free without needing to do anything else, and 2) we made it easy for the community to create new versions of the game in other languages. Video available here: