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Making Use Of All Those Online Gamers

Online Gamers Helping the Blind There is good news on the horizon for the visually impaired, and anyone interested in online gaming. A Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist has just invented a game users can use online that is accessible to the visually impaired.

Frequently left out of the online phenomenon, this new game considers the visually impaired among its target population. The game, named Phetch, involves a scavenger hunt taken place online. The goal is for players to use search engines to seek out images that fit descriptions.

In the process of playing and fitting images to descriptions, players must verify captions that are provided for all unlabeled images. The captions are easy to read and helpful for those that are visually impaired.

The Blind And The Web
While it may seem counterintuitive, thousands and thousands of blind people surf the Web each day. There are many tools that make this possible including text-to-speech translation devices that allows the uses to convert their speech to text on the computer.

These programs don't help when websites provide unlabeled images. Phetch helps overcome this obstacle by providing small captions on all unlabeled images.

Phetch is one is a series of games users are describing as "Games with a purpose" that purpose being to help the visually impaired reach out more on the Net. Other games that provide similar benefits or assistance to the visually impaired include:

The point of these games is not just to help the visually impaired access the Net, but also allow them to enjoy it. Gaming is rapidly gaining popularity, especially on the Web where competitors can compete against one another from across the world. There are even gaming competitions users participate in to demonstrate their skill and ability. Such events may be within the reach of the visually impaired much sooner than expected.

Just be sure if you are an avid gamer that you get your peepers checked at least once every year. Heavy computer use, whether from working OR gaming, can result in visual impairments.

Users claim Phetch is an exciting and interesting game, with most players spending 30 minutes or more during each session (though some users have spent a marathon 10 hours on the game).

Phetch is much more than a game though. It can be developed to help individuals find images on the web that are hard to locate, and may be useful for people that aren't handy or adept at surfing the web for images for themselves. All they would need to provide is a description of the deserved image. The user could then place that description into the game and see what happens.

One thing is certain... Phetch, and other games like it, are clearly here to stay. The population of online gamers just grew a bit larger, and will likely continue to do so for the next several decades.

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