Research Topics

Active: 2014-2016

Accessible Games for Single-Switch Interaction

Jumping ladybugs game

Small children with disabilities, especially in the pre-school age, need to develop their skills by using games and game-like environments. The educational effect of "serious games" enables educators and caregivers to involve the kids with fun and formative activities.

Falling Invaders game In the case of serious motor disabilities, when the interaction with a computer is severely hampered and the usage of a keyboard or pointing device is not possible, the choice of available educational games is greatly reduced.

Our research activity in this area focuses on defining new interaction modalities for accessible games in the educational and entertainment contexts, compatible also with severe motor disabilities.

To do so, we are exploring "single-switch" interaction, i.e., user interfaces that may be operated with a single input channel (button, sensor, etc.). Single-switch user interfaces are usually realized through scanning [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switch_access_scanning], that limits the type of application to static layouts with limited interactivity and dynamicity.

To overcome the many issues of scanning for games, we adopt of a time-based interaction method that removes the layout restrictions, based on the work by Tamara Broderick and David MacKay who proposed the NOMON selection interface. We implemented the statistics and interaction methods proposed by Nomon in the Unity 2D programming framework and created the GNomon (Gaming Nomon) framework. Thanks to the GNomon framework, we developed a set of educational games that were tested, in early 2015, with a group of children with severe disabilities.


Downloads

  • Three mini games are freely available to download (Windows-only): One Switch Demo, One Switch Ladybug, and One Switch Invaders.

Publications