Entertainment, media, and gaming hardware

Gaming Systems (Wii, etc.)

Gaming systems like Playstation, Wii, and XBox are powerful technologies for education, entertainment, and exercise.  They include a console, a handheld controller, game media, and a connector to a television for display.  Some connect to the Internet as well.

They can be used to play physical games or mental puzzles, chat by voice or text with others, browse the web, and watch videos.

There are specialized input devices for different activities, and some have been created or modified for people with disabilities.  New controllers include object, face, and voice recognition technologies -- exciting options for accessibility.

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Software and Hardware Media Players

Audio and video files can be played on hardware devices (such as an iPod or portable DVD player), or via software on a computer (such as Windows Media Player or Apple QuickTime). This article discusses what to consider when determining options for making these files available for use by individuals with various types of disabilities.

Hardware media players

Controls: Controls should require minimal hand movement and activation pressure for the benefit of people with dexterity disabilities. Make sure that they are not too easy to activate or too close together.  Multiple controls with different shapes allow blind users to distinguish among them by touch.

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Video Description

Video description (also called 'audio description') lets people with visual impairments hear descriptions of visual elements of movies and television shows with a special narrative track. The narration runs simultaneously with the audio of the performance. These descriptions supplement the dialogue without interrupting it. Elements such as costumes, settings, expressions, etc. are included in this audio track.

Here is an excerpt of a described videoVideo description is only available for a few TV shows and DVDs. New regulations may go into effect expanding this service.

In the U.S., WGBH’s Media Access Group has pioneered work on descriptive video services.

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UK Site Features Info on Simple Switch Access to Games and Entertainment

OneSwitch is a UK organization that develops and shares information about simple access to games and other software. It's got lots of fun, practical solutions for entertainment, music, and art, and an attached blog for dialogue and involvement.

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New Gaming Site Shares Advice on Accessibility

Gamebase is a new website that lets disabled gamers trade information about what they play and how they play it. It's a project of SpecialEffect, a UK charity dedicated to accessible gaming that has developed eye gaze technology for video games and operates a loan library.

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Doremi CaptiView: A New Way to Caption Movies in Theatres

Doremi CaptiView is a small 3-line electronic caption display for movie theatres. It can be inserted into your seat's beverage holder, and receives the captions wirelessly. Since the captions are displayed without the need to adjust to a rear-projector, users may have greater seating choices and viewing ease. You'll need to check if CaptiView is available in a theatre near you.

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