Do you ever feel helpless when the power goes out and darkness surrounds you? Imagine living your life in total darkness every day - this is what it is like in the daily life of a blind person. Simple tasks become more challenging but they can be tackled. Our two Chinese Project Playtime teams were driven by innovation, impact and fun as they set out to aid blind children.
Meet the Shanghai Playtime Team - Cheers
The Shanghai team would like to help blind children learn as well as build up their confidence to communicate with others. Our partner organization, Sunshine Disabled People Service Center, is an organization that relies on Internet technologies to deliver social services for the disabled. They were great help explaining the needs of the children, “The children like things they feel safe with”, said the organization staff, “They are very sensitive to sound and tactile sense."
Shanghai Playtime kick-off meeting
To understand the life of a blind person, we joined in on the regular volunteer service activities held by our partner organization, from which we experienced the same inability to “see” with eyes.
Covering our eyes and walking around the training room
After working closely with the Sunshine Disabled People Service Center, we came up with the prototype “Board Game” of China. The game is designed for two players, who participate by virtually walking them around different cities. Each stop on the journey signifies either a city or a scientific fun fact with an interesting audio story. A quiz at the end allows players to earn points. A button with good tactile feel is provided to each participant. This button is used to advance to new locations in the game and answer the quiz.
Shanghai team (from left to right): Yuansheng Dai, Cathy Fang, Jiameng Mao, Juan Yu, Zebulon Li, Jared Feng, Beatrice He, Danzhu Lu, Lily Dai and Yuanchi Tian.
Meet the Beijing Playtime Team - ADIScroll
There are millions of blind children in China, but few toys are suitable for them and even fewer toys use braille. The Beijing team partnered with Bethel China, a non profit and a non-governmental organization that was officially established in 2003. According to Bethel China, visually impaired children don’t learn braille until later in life because braille specialists are very expensive. The goal of our toy is to help children learn braille independently and identify general objects.
ADIScroll, is a low-cost toy accessible to all children with visual impairments. See the design below.
To identify an object using ADIScroll, an NFC tag should be pasted on the object. Related data is written to the NFC tag by a phone app. ADIScroll has an internal speaker, which can play audio to describe the object (the name, animals sounds, etc.) and display braille. The braille is compatible with letters, numbers and even Chinese characters. This way children can teach themselves simple braille.
We are looking forward to your comments on the projects we are currently working on; please feel free to give us any suggestions or comments below. Thank you!