Smash-a-Ball helps visually impaired kids to improve memory and interaction

In this column, technology for a cause, Weararena brings use cases on the companies that are utilizing wearable technology for the greater good and trying to create a big difference in the lives of many.   The latest and noteworthy contribution comes in the form of a game especially designed for visually impaired and blind children. Dubbed as Smash-a-Ball, the game is created by the team of Nadia Guevara and Pedro Bori who are both educational psychologists by profession and have spent 7 years working with and studying visually impaired and blind children.  The game consists of a backpack and a main board. It is an electronic board without a screen. The lack of screen works in the advantage of this game and doesn’t distract the user while making room for maximum auditory interaction.  The backpack has LED indicator for the battery and on / off button for Braille.

Smash-a-Ball helps visually impaired kids to improve memory and interaction

The electronic board has color buttons and the user has to either press the corresponding button by remembering the color or  need to memorize the color pattern in which the names are recorded as well as spoken. The different difficulty levels can be set as the user gets comfortable with a particular color theme. This exercise helps the kids with special abilities to enhance the cognitive skills with tactile and auditory stimulus.  The game also teaches them to corroborate reactions simultaneously. Braille buttons facilitate interaction with visually impaired people.

This fun experience to learn the names help people with disabilities to develop spatial awareness and build self-respect while prompting them to overcome challenge and take new risks with the new color pattern.  The game board also plays crucial role in promoting social skills in the users.

The benefits of electric board don’t stay limited to fun and entertainment.  The induction of coordinated reaction via the game results in the better understanding of day-to-day situations. For instance, talk about crossing the road and saving yourself from the car that jumped the signal and came in front of you.  Memory is another thing that is enhanced via this game. Similarly, the game also helps the kids to have an awareness of the surroundings such as their school, toys, dishes and stationery.

This project is featured on the Kickstarter and the irony is that it is lagging behind its funding goal.  As we write this, it has managed to receive only £11,506 of its £100,000 pledge goal.  The range of funding starts from as little as £5, £30+, £50+ and goes on to £5,000+.

You can also be a part of the good deed by becoming a godfather to a gifted kid. You can back the project with £50+ and the team will sponsor Smash-a-Ball for him.  The inventors have planned to develop a wearable armband with the same components and functionality of an armband.   The team is also working with Edinburg University for a clinical trial and to measure the impact of Smash-a-Ball on the cognitive development of the children.  Moreover, the team is planning to launch a connecting app in April.

The team started work on the project about 3 years ago and takes the braille version of the very few games available to the next digital level. This battery operated, lightweight and ergonomic electric board game is wireless and has no sharp edges to ensure 100% safety and fun.  Upon receiving the desired funding, the team looks to add musical nodes, Spanish & French instruction and Noughts & Crosses game mode apart from the wearable armband.

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