Minecraft is a very accessible game. Ranging from consoles, PCs, and even to mobile platforms, it’s no surprise that the game has accumulated more sales than Tetris’ line of products. With this brand, it didn’t take long for somebody to create access for a demographic that’s often been swept under the rug, hidden from the public eye: the physically-disabled.
SpecialEffect is a charity situated in the UK, harboring a goal to make video games open to ones who are unable to play because of limitations in their bodies. Their efforts allow for the disabled to play to the best of their abilities, using modified joypads, eye-trackers, voice detectors, and other tools.
One product in particular, the EyeMine, is a form of software one could download alongside a number of eye-trackers — at low-costs. How it works is that the software will create a new interface over the game. This interface will have different actions one could pinpoint using their eye movements, which will initiate after a certain amount of time has passed.
“Eye-trackers have inbuilt infrared cameras which track where your eyes are looking, letting you move the mouse pointer around on the screen. You can ‘click’ by dwelling (staring at a screen button for a certain length of time) or by using a switch that’s plugged in to the computer. You can see dwelling in action in the lower screenshot – it’s the red circular timer.”
The requirements to use the program can be found on the website, and there are available tutorials you can use if you’re planning to prepare this set-up in the future.
Their efforts have been noticed by the Minecraft community (like the video below), and a lot of support to the organization has been noted in the aftermath. It’s heartwarming to see organizations like this. In a world where ‘inaccessible’ is the norm for many physically-disabled, it’s great to see people who are determined to create such a heavy impact in the lives of many. Video games, such as Minecraft, show us what humanity can do to the ones who feel limited by their circumstances, giving them the tools to gain control block-by-block.
I remember seeing a project like this on YouTube ages ago. Do you know how long this company was around or if there are/were different companies/groups that were attempting to do a similar thing in the past?
I can’t recall when, but I’ve definitely seen this before, too. It’s been a while, though. The recent bit of news around it makes me glad it’s still kicking.