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Game for visually impaired child wins student design award

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RIT students designed and built an interactive game for a visually impaired 9-year-old that won first place in the 2009 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Student Design Awards contest.

The team from RIT was awarded $5,000 for the hand-held device. Students incorporated an LCD display, tactile feedback motors, stereo speakers and a simple user interface to build a model that was both fun and focused on a 9-year-old’s sensory development.

A local physician contacted RIT to design 
and build a handheld game to help a patient with a visual impairment, says Jesse Muszynski, a sixth-year electrical engineering student 
and member of the RIT IEEE student chapter. 

The child recognized shadows, lights and color but had difficulty reading a book. The purpose of the game was to offer entertainment during office visits as the doctor and parents discussed the child’s progress. 

The device consisted of a series of oversized “action” buttons, an analog volume control with 
a headphone jack and a power button. The 
child selected a series of games developed 
by the team by inserting separate game cartridges of a maze, an avoidance game or 
a modified version of the popular video game, Simon.