[games_access] Virtual worlds open up to blind
thomas at pininteractive.com
Wed Sep 19 05:08:24 EDT 2007
nice, now where is Blizzard :)
18 sep 2007 kl. 20.33 skrev Barrie Ellis:
> From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6993739.stm
> Online virtual worlds could soon be accessible to blind people
> thanks to research by students at IBM in Ireland.
> Some estimates predict that 80% of active internet users will be
> using a virtual world in four years' time.
> The company said that it is keen to ensure that blind people are
> not excluded from an environment that sighted people will take for
> The students have designed an audio equivalent of the virtual world
> using 3D sound to create a sense of space.
> They were working as part of the company's Extreme Blue research
> initiative which brings groups of students together for 12 weeks to
> solve problem set by senior researchers.
> The project - called Accessibility In Virtual Worlds - is what the
> company describes as "a proof of concept" at this stage, but it
> will be passed on to IBM's Human Ability and Accessibility Centre
> in Texas for further development.
> For their work the Irish team decided to use the Active Worlds
> online environment rather than the more popular Second Life (which
> has almost 9.5m accounts) because it allowed them more flexibility.
> Active Worlds is a collection of user-made virtual worlds that
> people can visit via a web browser plug-in. Like many other virtual
> spaces they let people make many of the artefacts, including
> buildings, found in them.
> Audible cues
> The research team exploited this ability to tinker with objects in
> the online world to make it more hospitable to the blind.
> "When the user comes into the world, the items are described as
> well as their positions," explained Colm O'Brien, one of the team
> of four researchers who worked on the project.
> "There is also sound attached - for example, if there's a tree
> nearby you will hear a rustling of leaves," said Mr O'Brien.
> The work also developed tools which uses text to speech software
> that reads out any chat from fellow avatars in the virtual world
> that appears in a text box.
> Characters in the virtual world can have a "sonar" attached to them
> so that the user gets audible cues to alert them to when they are
> approaching, from which direction and how near they are.
> A number of blind mentors have given advice and feedback to the
> team - one in IBM's Dublin lab and two based at IBM's research
> centre in Texas.
> The students have also liaised with the National Council for the
> Blind of Ireland on their work.
> As well as proving that the idea is feasible, the team has made a
> number of recommendations about accessibility standards for virtual
> worlds which should help the developers of the future.
> "IBM believes that virtual worlds are going to be the next big
> evolution of the web and if this happens...it's not right for blind
> people to be missing out on what the rest of us have available,"
> said Mr O'Brien
> games_access mailing list
> games_access at igda.org
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