Brian Wilke, Jonathan Metzgar, Keith Johnson, Sudhanshu Semwal, Bonnie Snyder, KaChun Yu, and Dan Neafus
My program Barnyard Fun was presented as a demo at the 2009 IEEE Virtual Reality Conference (VR ’09). It is a prototype of a game for visually impaired students to help teach spatial reinforcement and memory skills while also being visually interested to normal students as well.
VR applications provide an opportunity to study a variety of new applications. One of the focus areas of the media convergence, games and media integration (McGMI) program is to develop new media applications for the visually impaired population. We are particularly interested in developing applications which are at the same time interesting for the sighted population as well-hence the title-crossover applications. Bonnie Snyder, who has been working with the visually impaired population for more than twenty years, visited a group of students early in the Fall 2008 As many typical applications are geared toward sighted population, the cost of software and hardware systems tend to be a lot higher. In addition, several games, developed for primarily the sighted, provide minimal interaction for the blind. Although this issue remains a topic of discussion in both IEEE VR and ISMAR and related conferences, much more can be done. We used this as motivation and developed three applications for both the sighted and the visually impaired population (a) haptic chess program combines PHANTOM force feedback interaction with OpenAL audio; (b) Simple hand movement recognition on iPhone provides a hierarchical menu application; (c) Barnyard fun program uses interesting animal-sound feedback to facilitate spatial selection. In future, we expect to conduct testing of these applications in Denver Museum as possible.