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Programming With Purpose

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University of Washington senior Janet Hollier

University of Washington senior Janet Hollier presenting her application to help children and their families learn braille through an interactive video game.

Credit: Sang Cho / The Daily

The University of Washington recently held a reception that enabled computer-science and engineering undergraduate students to show off new accessibility applications to the local blind, deaf, and deaf-blind communities. The students developed five phone applications for blind, deaf, deaf-blind, or cognitively impaired users, to fill the requirements of their capstone design class on accessibility applications.

The class designed a daily task manager for cognitively impaired patients and their caretakers; a text-to-speech reader using the phone's camera; a program that helps blind and deaf users find destinations, and Braille learning games for blind children. "We wanted to see how we can make it fun for the kids," says senior Janet Hollier, who developed BrailLearn and Braille Buddies with junior Christine Marie Acuario. "Not a lot of games are specifically made for blind children."

The programs are open source and were developed for Google's Android phone. The students continue to test the applications, which are expected to be released in the coming months.

From The Daily (University of Washington)
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