New research makes Rock Band accessible

Thursday, 27 May 2010 16:12pm

New research from the University of California Santa Cruz in the US allows people who are blind or vision impaired to join their friends in playing Rock Band, a popular console game where people play different instruments together.

To make the drumming component of Rock Band work for gamers who are blind or vision impaired, Sri Kurniawan, an assistant professor in computer engineering, used vibrations and sounds to convey the information needed to play the game. Gamers have small devices strapped to their upper and lower arms to deliver vibrations that represent the drumhead cues, and strapped to their ankle to represent the kick drum cues.  Auditory information is used to provide feedback on correct and timely hits (with various drumming sounds) or errors (with a click sound).

Ongoing evaluation showed that gamers were able to master the system almost immediately, with some users making no error halfway through the first song.

Visit games and game consoles in the digital technology section of our website for more information on game accessibility.

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