Posted by stuff4sam on September 19, 2007
Here I am on Live2Give Island in Second Life blowing you a kiss. Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its Residents who are online versions of themselves (also known as avatars). I’ve been exploring it for some time now to see how accessible Second Life is in the hope that one day we can hang out together there.
Live2give is my favorite place because it’s very chilled and full of interesting people. The island is owned by an avatar called Wilde who is a combination of 9 disabled men and women who inhabit one virtual body. I’ve met lots of other people in Second Life who, like Wilde, are restricted in first life and loved hearing their stories and adventures of places they can visit and things they can do which they can’t do in their day to day lives like go to the cinema, a concert, fly, swim and dance.
I’ve started a Stuff4Sam group in Second Life to help raise awareness and hopefully raise funds. We’re also looking at how we can make Second Life more accessible to people who use assitive technology to access the web. It’s an open group and I would love for you and anyone else to come and join me – the more the better! Just search for “stuff4sam” in groups search section and we’ll pop up.
See you soon, Noodle Cioc x
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Posted by stuff4sam on July 25, 2007
I’ve been hanging out in the virtual world Second Life a lot recently wrapping my head around all the amazing things you can do there. If you haven’t already seen it Second Life is a virtual world where you create your own online persona called an avatar, who can do a lot of the things you do in everyday life but in a online environment. Something that’s really struck me however is how this could be a real opportunity for people who are restricted in some way in their day to day lives.
Working as a Web Accessibility Consultant this is hardly surprising but what really got me excited was thinking of the opportunities that it could give Sam. Imagine if he could hang out in Second Life, meet people, go to concerts, take courses, fly, visit art galleries, even play football with his Dad.
To do all this though Second Life needs to be accessible which, from what I have seen so far, it is not. So I’ve decided to look into it myself and research how Second Life fairs in terms of accessibility from the perspective of all users including people with mobility, visual, hearing and cognitive impairments but I need your help. Rather than just put on my auditors hat I’d like to also hear what your experiences are with Second Life including the good as well as the bad, what you find troublesome, what features you like most and if you use an access technology or change your browser settings.
If you’d like to share you thoughts with me then drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll publish my findings here as well as on the RNIB Web Access Blog.
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Posted by iheni on April 16, 2007
Three weeks ago I went to CSUN, a technology conference for people with disabilities. It’s the biggest conference of it’s kind and has people from all over the world giving presentations on access technologies as well as showcasing hardware and software.
While at the conference I met a gentleman called Andrew Junker who created a software called Brainfingers. Using the software you can us a PC to play games, email, browse the web, anything. You wear a Cyberlink headband which detects electrical signals from your facial muscles, eye movements, and brainwaves. The Brainfingers software decodes these signals into virtual fingers which trigger mouse and keyboard events to control everything that’s happening on your screen.
I had a go and it was a complete trip to use. With the strap around my head linked up to the PC I was able to play games and music with a virtual keyboard by simply raising an eyebrow, clenching my jaw or smiling. The smallest movement or expression gets translated on screen.
Cyberlink is designed to be used by a broad range of people with disabilities; from minor to severe. Even people with minimal ability to control facial muscles can usually learn how to map “clicks” to a number of special controls.
View a video of Brainfingers as seen on the Discovery Channel program “KAPOW! Superhero Science. The video is around 3 minutes long and there are low and high bandwidth versions available in Windows Media Format and MPEG format.
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