02 November 2022
It’s always a unique and heartwarming feeling when gaming opens its doors to becoming more accessible. Whether you’ve found yourself needing accessibility features or not, it’s just that those features are there for those who do. This morning we have a news story about a french company that decided to take accessibility in games and take it to the next level.
Aretha France is currently developing a haptic feedback belt that allows visually impaired people to perceive their in-game environments while transmitting information from a camera or screen into sensations on the skin. And if you’re reading this thinking it’s a pipe dream that won’t amount to anything more; it’s not. Using this technology, Aretha France has officially managed to make Trackmania fully accessible to people who are completely blind.
Initially, the choice to test and develop this potentially life-changing technology in video games came down to safety. It’s safer to test in a virtual environment than out on the streets; however, as development progressed, the team saw the potential of making video game accessibility their focus, and here we are.
Deciding to focus on Trackmania was also not a random choice; instead, the game was chosen because it mimics real-world challenges and requires players to have quick reactions, a great way to test the technology. When the team started rolling out testing, it would take users between six and twenty hours to learn and become comfortable with it, but as of this year, users should be able to pick up the device and start playing in under an hour.
If you find this as intriguing as we do and want to know more about it, Aretha France put together an eight-minute video running viewers through everything on their YouTube channel, which you can watch here: Youtube
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