Navigating 3D Worlds using a Single Switch


I was delighted to be a small part of Eelke Fomer and Fangzhou Liu's recent paper, "Navigating a 3D Avatar using a Single Switch". It's a thorough appraisal of what's out there already, and offers positive ideas for ways forward. I'm really hoping that their inspirational work with Second Life will inspire more people to create deeper worlds for one-switch users to explore and play in (Proteus, next?).

To learn more, see the slideshow and please do browse Eelke's site for a broad range of other superlative accessibility work. Also see, Portem and Zogan's Log.

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Accessible Fishing




I had a request from a fellow called Mike Murach recently asking if I could make a radio controlled fishing boat more accessible. A what?! was my first thought. Well, YouTube turns up a variety of fishing techniques including speedboat, skidoo and helicoptor.

Unfortunately for Mike, I'm a Pisces, a bit of a hippy, and really don't like fishing. If you're not planning to eat the fish, then at the very least, you're annoying them. Hey, man. Don't annoy the fish!

Anyway, if anyone is interested in making a hands-free controller and isn't so sensitive to the fishes plight, taking inspiration from this hands-free Scalextric controller, this and the ASKA from South Korea, then please do get in touch with Mike.

If anyone can make a decent switch accessible way to play something like SEGA Bass fishing, or a decent one to three switch accessible pleasure boat, please get in contact with me.

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Portal 2 gets Reconfigurable Controls Update


Valve are great. Inspired by Chuck Bittner's tireless Custom Button reMapping Petition, they have pledged to add this functionality to their highly acclaimed game Portal 2. This follows colour-blind options they have added to games in the recent past, and full subtitles / closed-captions. Bravo!

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Golf!


An almost forgotten project of mine from the past, was to build a switch accessible golf-ball launcher. Well, it was forgotten, until I saw moroQ's switch adapted MLB Pitching Machine, which you can see here.

I'm not sure how well it would work, but I was imagining moroQ's machine sitting on some kind of switch adapted pan and tilt device such as Sunpak's AP-200W or Enabling Device's motorised tripod.

Then putting a hula-hoop around a golf flag/hole, and then playing switch accessible golf. Get the ball in the hoop, and that counts as sinking a ball. Would be great if there could be some way to vary the power, and simplify aiming.

Few more random golf links: Parabasetec Golf Cart; Max Headroom talks Golf; MyGolf one-switch golf; Real vs. Virtual Golf; Five free one-switch golf games.

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Ouch!


This is rubbish. On top of not being able to listen to the World Service on my drive to work anymore, now Ouch! has been thinned right down to just a blog and podcast. Admittedly, they are both still brilliant, and I'm happy they still exist. I just wonder incredulously at what's gone on at the BBC in recent times. Stupid financial crisis.

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Deep Sea


"Deep Sea is a game about being vulnerable. In this audio-only [Apple Mac] game, players don a mask that obscures their vision and takes over their hearing, plunging them into a world of blackness occupied only by the sound of their own breathing and the rumbles made by unseen terrors.

Survival means the careful tracking of a liquid constellation of alien sounds, requiring the player to focus intently to the point of suppressing their own breathing, further reinforcing the sensation of claustrophic isolation. The player fires their weapon and hopes to hear the creature cry out in pain, but more often than not the sound they hear is their shot disappearing uselessly into the void.

The sense of being surrounded by invisible dangers is reinforced by the reality of playing the game in a public space, with the player knowing that all around are people they can neither hear nor see. At the same time spectators can watch the gyrations of the player's body and hear their voice but have no access to the world the player is experiencing, and so remain helpless to rescue the player from their watery fate."

Link via Bill at the Accessible GameBase AudioGames forum.

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Brett Domino on Skoog


What fun. Brett Domino and Steven Peavis, take a Skoog to cover Outcast's Hey Ya! And see Trabasack's being used with their Justin Timberlake medly. Smart.

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Strawberry Bear, Hip-Hop Sheep


"How about a big old bear hug?" I got asked that a lot whilst I operated on Lots-O-Huggin Bear to make him switch accessible. My wife does worry about me sometimes overhearing the sounds from my loft work-room. I worry about me sometimes.

There's a good D.I.Y. YouTube guide to switch adapting similar soft toys here. I didn't follow that same technique, as I prefer to go closer to the PCB, and find a stronger point to mount switch sockets to, but this works and is easy. More D.I.Y. switch accessible tips here.

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One Touch Music




The videos above demonstrate how repeated use of a single switch can be used to play pre-set and randomised notes.


The top video takes me back to one of my first accessibility experiments in 1994. The "Single Key Play" mode allows you to stumble through a variety of pre-set songs, a few notes at a time using just one key on the keyboard. I set this up with a big floppy Quickshot joystick so that people could nudge it to control the song themselves which worked quite well. The following year I built a hacked-up a wirey shambles of a switch interface to give people switch control. People seemed to enjoy it.

The second video is from the wonderful Fluid for the Sony Playstation. This has pre-set algorhythms that allow you to play all manner of instruments, and have them stay relatively in tune with the rest of the backing track.

I'd love to see some of these features make their way into the Skoog in the future. Fingers crossed.

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Free Cause and Effect Activities


Kate Ahern has posted a really useful list of some free cause and effect activities for switch users over at the TLWMSN Blog. Very handy.

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