Universal Sling

A while back I had a grumble about the lack of hoisting standard in the UK, somewhat hindering the accessibility of public changing places, and hoists in general.

From that post, Alastair Gibbs of TPG DisableAids Ltd kindly sent me information of a part-solution. The Minivator sling loop converter set (pictured top - code MVS174) threads through the loops of Oxford compatible slings, enabling use on Arjo style 'clip' carry bar or tilting frame hoists. They come as a set of four and retail at £19.80 + VAT + £3.95 p&p.

I've been told by someone in the know that the ratio of hoists out in public use are around 90% Oxford style to 10% Arjo. I suggest that Arjo would be doing the right thing by phasing out their system with a dual-hook up method. Wish they'd consider that a "reasonable adjustment" for the overall benefits it would bring.

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Remapping Controls

Remappable/reconfigurable controls has been one of the more successful calls for game accessibility in recent times, helped by the likes of Chuck Bittner and other advocates (examples: 1, 2, 3). There's such a broad range of people using idiosyncratic ways of playing, often with non-standard controllers, that you'd think the vast majority of game designers would keep this in mind.

So does that mean that most games now have the facility to set-up controls to suit your own playing style? No. Not yet, not even for simple left-hand play modes. In general, things are good on PCs, and bad on consoles. Meanwhile, there's a few things that can help:

There are a very small number of off the shelf Joypads that allow you to remap buttons, such as the Thrustmaster 3 in 1.

Some gaming devices allow you to move interchangable control pod clusters such as MadCatz MLG Pro Circuit controllers, eDimensional's Access Controller and the hard to find Radica Phoenix Revolution controller.

Switch interfaces allow for controls to placed within easier reach, in a highly versatile but often quite expensive way.

Some controller adapters, such as the Max Shooter allow a keyboard to be used to control game functions, and to be configured as needed.

Re-mapping modules from the likes of Chinese boffins, XCM, enable PS3 or Xbox 360 reconfiguration (to a degree). See a short review and video over at SpecialEffect's GameBase of XCM's Xbox Remapper and PS3 Cross Battle Adapter.

So does all of this weaken the call for reconfigurable controls in games? No, not at all. Being able to auto-load and auto-save favourite profiles within games adds comfort and convenience for all. For many, it's the difference between a playable and unplayable game. Seems like a small thing to ask to me.



Funny if you remember Lionel Richie's 1984 hit Hello, where he played a music-teacher who fell in love with his blind student. Probably not funny at all if you don't.

Link found via HappyPlace.com via Ian Bean's FaceBook page.

Fly Guy

Fly Guy is a lovely on-line game of freedom that uses the cursor keys alone in game play. As such, it's a great candidate for use with William Pilgrim's 4Noah utility and a single switch.

You can set a switch up to alternate in function between UP > STOP > DOWN > STOP (and repeat). Equally, you can use a few methods to access up, down, left and right using one-switch.

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So Fine (ELO)


Video Fever (1982)

Urban Roots



The clip above shows off the VRAA! box I built for SpecialEffect a while back. It stands for "Variable Reverse And Accelerate", and works as a speed-limiter for both pedal and switch users. But why?

Well, a problem that turned up at road shows with the likes of Forza 3, is that some kids wanted the most powerful and impressive looking cars, but just couldn't handle the speed of them. The VRAA! box enables them to pootle around the track at 20 mph if needed but under much greater control.

This works well for free-driving, but led us to think of another wish for accessible driving games: An in-game option to set the speed-limit of your own car, and separately for your opponents. Until then, if anyone would like to know how the VRAA! box was built, feel free to get in touch.

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Colour-Blind (PG)

First funny clip I've ever seen on colour-blindess above, and illuminating for some too, I've no doubt. Found via this excellent Average Gamer post on colour-blindess in gaming, via the Colour Blind Play facebook page.

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