Tink: Musical Toy

Tink. Image of a 16x16 grid with colourful effects.Tink is a lovely little musical sequencer by William Pilgrim which is both one-switch and mouse compatible for PCs. Drop sound mines deliberately or at random on a 16x16 grid then hear them played.

You can find Tink within the new OneSwitch.org.uk Switch Accessible Music area alongside other instruments, applications and musical games.

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The Factory: Game for Helen RR 2008 Winner

Image of puzzle game 'The Factory'. A conveyor belt with a number of machining tools. Within the blog pages of Australia's The Age is an interesting article on Retro Remakes competition winner "The Factory" by Shane Hockings. I personally find the game very tough, and sorely needing a tutorial with a few demonstration solutions (see the image above for some help).

This said, I do think there's a lot of satisfaction to be had when/if it finally does click. Belated congratulations Shane. Uploaded to the OneSwitch gaming library here.

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One Switch Game: Cubes

Q-Bert original art work.
Graemes Free Games have added "Cubes" a one-switch accessible version of old arcade classic Q*Bert. It's got 1982 written all over it, but the accessibility features are great, and the implementation very fine indeed. Nice job. Mirrored at the OneSwitch library.

In the pipeline is a one-switch fighting game, The Way of the Empty Hand II. Really looking forward to this one as there are next to no one-switch fighting games out there.

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2012 Boccia Champion: Chris Myers?

Boccia I was really pleased to learn that family friend, Chris Myers, won a Rotary Young Persons Award. There's an unmissable BBC report on-line with video clip where he gets across his passion for Boccia and hopes to compete and win at the 2012 London Olympics. Bloomin' good on you, Chris!


Best £1 I've Ever Spent

Mr. Gum in The Hound of Lamonic Bibber.'Are stake-outs always this borin'?' said Polly two hours later.

'SQUEEK,' replied Friday, chewing on the toy mouse. 'It depends. Generally, in my experience -'

'Hold on,' whispered Polly. 'Somethin's happenin'.'

It was true. Up until that moment the butcher's shop had been completely dark. But now a candle had been lit, its flickering flame just visible through the thick fog.

'SQUEEK,' said Friday. 'Let's go and take a closer look.' Friday crept out from behind the dustbin and went slithering across the street on his stomach, keeping his eyes shut so he'd be invisible.

Tenori-on On-line

Toshio Iwai's Tenori-on and DS title Electroplankton are fantastic musical toys but have been out of reach for some due to the very physical interface. Now head-tracker and switch users can tinker to their hearts content thanks to André Michelle's tribute experiment: Tone Matrix.

The interface is mouse based, so head-tracker users are straight in. Switch users would need to use the likes of EZ Keys, AAC Keys and Clicker 5 to get in. An easier solution for switch users is in the pipeline however.

Finally, not massively accessible, but good fun is Hobnox's Audiotool.A pretty amazing online music creation tool using classic emulated drum machines, effects pedals and more.

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Switch Adapted RC Car

B-Furious 40MHz switch adapted Radio Controlled CarJust added a "B-Furious" 40MHz switch adapted Radio Controlled Car. It's relatively cheap and cheerful and works with two accessibility switches. Take a look over at the One Switch Shop.

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One Switch Sound Sample Player

Image of a radio wave from Joy Division album Hidden Pleasures. Shortly before Christmas, William Pilgrim of 4Noah fame wrote two fantastic small utilities from a couple of ideas of mine. Shamefully it's taken me this long to get the first one up: Switch Mixer Lite which is a one-switch sound sample player.

This is huge fun as a cause and effect activity or as something more creative, once you've scavanged some good WAV files from your hard-drive or from the web. A brilliant starting point is at this Free Technology for Teachers blog post.

Other sound sources can be found high and low including text to speech readers and your PC's sound recorder utility. A really useful stopping point is Media Converter where you can convert MP3s and other formats into WAV format.

Edit: A small update has just been made by William to add extra functionality. Now you can choose to have sounds multi-layered or have just one played neatly at a time. The web-page reflects this and adds a few extra ideas.

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SwitchedOn Games: Carousel Interface

Image of Switched On Games banner with strap-line: Games for Fun Not for Profit. SwitchedOn Games takes two giant leaps forward in becoming a Non-Profit company seeking support and also in releasing a beta Carousel Interface. Founder, Danny Flint, is working towards some ambitious, innovative and achievable goals, which you can follow and become involved with at his SwitchedOn Blog. Exciting stuff for one-switch gamers lies ahead.


Dream Job?

ICT Development Officer
Salary Band 5 £20,710 - £26,839
Ref. HDH0119C

"Are you passionate about enabling children and young adults with disabilities to use technology to change their lives? Are you a talented trainer who can make IT accessible to all? Do you have an ability to problem solve on all aspects of ICT? Helen & Douglas House (located in Oxford, UK) is looking for a multi-skilled individual who can lead its ground-breaking ‘Game for Helen’ project and be the focal point for its ICT development.

For an informal chat please contact David Pastor on 01865 794749. For a postal application form please contact Vicky Bond, HR Assistanton 01865 794749 ext 363. To apply online please visit www.helenanddouglas.org.uk or alternatively email recruitment@helenanddouglas.org.uk stating the job reference number HDH0119C. Closing date: Tuesday 14th April 2009."

Guitar Hero Freddie Everett

Image of Freddie Everett smiling.THE TEXAS LEGEND. They call Freddie Everett "The Texas Legend," "The Texas Hendrix," and sometimes locally, "Our Houston Legend." A true legend he is, as few have the ability to endlessly ad-lib lightning fast riffs and power cords the way he could, but it's the way he connected with his audiences that really set him apart. He'd bring his audience into the performance, calling people by name from the stage or going out into the audience to perform one of his signature moves, such as using any object available as a slide. If he met you one time, he'd remember your name and refer to you as a friend. The list of celebrities he knew is nearly endless. He performed with or opened for many, many greats, such as Sammy Hegar, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper (where he met his wife Annette), Bo Diddley (who'd visit Freddie, whenever he was in town), Double Trouble (Stevie Ray's band), and many more.

He was a world class guitar player who had just signed with SONY and was about to step out onto the world stage, starting with a tour of Europe, when ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease took away his ability to play. He never got the chance to record at SONY's studio. ALS is a disease which affects the motor neurons and little by little, takes away the ability to use all voluntary muscles, including those used for speaking, eating, and breathing.

In 2008, he became dependent on a ventilator and feeding tube to stay alive, and was entirely wheelchair bound. Thanks to his eye-tracking computer (ERICA), he was able to communicate, use the internet, and continue to make music. His battle with ALS ended in the early hours of 02/APRIL/09, but his legacy will live on forever. We love you Freddie. You're rockin' with the angels now.

Taken from Freddie Everett's MySpace Music page. Discovered via RNT Blog.


The Glowhouse

Image of The Glowhouse.com - Flashing sunglasses. Fancy your own flashing glasses as demonstrated in the accessible Rock Band videos? Then step over to the fantastical Glowhouse.com (and search for sunglasses). They've a huge range of products great for sensory rooms, parties or for just making things stand out more. They also have El' Wire in stock which I've set-up in the past with a Radio Controlled car.


Rock Band Drums: Made More Accessible

This clip shows an adapted Rock Band Drum kit played using five accessibility switches on an adapted rig. This one is a fair bit trickier to adapt than the previous Guitar mod, as you can quickly see from its D.I.Y. guide page. Once done, however, and you've opened up drumming to those unable to hold the sticks, for team play (up to five players at once) and any combination of controls used by any part of your body.

Like the Guitar, you can also use the Rock Band guitars with a PC to play sound samples, which can offer a great way in to be more creative for some disabled musicians.

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Rock Band Guitar: Made More Accessible

The above video clip shows an adapted Rock Band Guitar played one-handed using the kick-pedal from the drums to strum. It's an easy modification that could just as well be applied to all the fret buttons if needed. Great for one-handed play and good too for one-switch musicians (with fast reactions) who can strum, whilst another person takes over fret work duties.

The D.I.Y. Accessible Rock Band Guitar modification can be found at the OneSwitch D.I.Y. section. You'll also find there a little guidance for hooking the guitar up to play licks and riffs on a PC courtesy of Mr. Fast Finger.

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One-Button Doodler

Black and white image of Sponge Bob Square Pants - drawn using one switch alone. The above image was drawn using a single switch which I find pretty fantastic. Komodo Openlab's Doodler enables art to be created in a very unique way for one-switch artists. Would love to see this taken up by the likes of Inclusive or Philipp Lenssen to run with this idea further.

Komodo Openlab have also worked on making the PC Super Monkey Ball clone Neverball playable with a single switch (think I've detailed this in the past).

Tera Kirk's blog where she interviews Jorge Silva of Komodo. Well worth a read, as is the proceeding comment.

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Escargone: One Switch Game Gone Wrong

Image of a platform game where the main character is a snail.Escargone is a good example of a one-button game made inaccessible to one-switch gamers through bad design. At the menu, and even worse, between every level, you are forced to use a mouse based point and click system. Annoying and unnecessary. If the main game can be accessed with just one-button why not everything else?

Game found on: JayIsGames.com

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Switch Activated Dolphin Running Marathons (Man Helps)

Image of a man wearing a Dolphin suit/back-pack ready for the London Marathon. Kay Moore has recently completed her superb-looking dolphin outfit, complete with switch activated Water Blaster. You can see it at this year's London Marathon and if you're there in person you may get sprayed as it goes by. Good luck, Monty!

Read more at my
previous dolphin-suit post.

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iPhone AAC: Proloquo2Go

Image of a person pulling an AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication) application running on an iPhone, being pulled from their pocket. "Proloquo2Go™ is a new product from AssistiveWare that provides a full-featured communication solution for people who have difficulty speaking. It brings natural sounding text-to-speech voices, up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a default vocabulary of over 7000 items, full expandability and extreme ease of use to the iPhone and iPod touch."

Via Samuel Sennot's Facebook page. See TLWMSN's AAC posts for much more.


Eddie Mathews Bespoke PS2 Controller

Eddie Mathews Bespoke PS2 Controller - A mass of wires and switches. I wonder how many people have found their own solutions out there that are yet to find a home on the web? Here was one of them, Eddie Mathew's bespoke Playstation 2 controller. Ever thought the dual-shock Joypad has too many buttons?

Update: Eddie now has this working on his Playstation 3 thanks to a simple joypad adapter.




Sneaky Peek

Image of switch adapted Rock Band Drums - for disabled players. Here's a little peek at the Rockband accessibility switch modification I've been working on for the Xbox 360 and PS2/PS3 drums. More to follow including a D.I.Y. guide and video.



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