|Media invited to amazing "Maze Day" for visually impaired children|
|Thursday, April 24, 2008|
Wednesday (April 30)
9 a.m. to noon
J. Carlyle Sitterson Hall (computer science building)
South Columbia Street, UNC Campus
Media representatives are invited to cover “Maze Day 2008,” an event where about 70 visually impaired and blind students in grades K-12 will test fun, educational computer applications developed just for them. The event, also open to the students’ parents and teachers, is sponsored by the computer science department in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Children will get a chance to try out accessible versions of the games Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, virtual beep ball and life-size mazes. They will also explore tactile music-making, rounding up farm animals by following their sounds on a rocking horse and much more.
The annual event is the brainchild of computer science professor Gary Bishop, who focuses his research on developing software for people with special needs. A team of students from one of Bishop’s software engineering classes hijacked a Dance Dance Revolution pad, for instance, to create a “Braille twister” game for children ages 2 to 8 who are visually impaired or blind. “Braille twister” helps the children not only learn Braille but also improve their upper body strength. Like other applications Bishop has developed, the “Braille twister” software is available to anyone for free.
Through Maze Day, the undergraduate students who program the software will have a chance to meet the children who will use the games they’ve created.
“One of my students said, ‘This is the first thing I’ve done in school that’s mattered,’” Bishop said.
Note: To identify children and parents who are willing to be interviewed and photographed by the media, please see computer science publications manager Kelli Gaskill on site.
To learn more about Bishop’s work, go to: http://college.unc.edu/features/april2008/article.2008-04-01.2504394819
Parking and directions: http://www.cs.unc.edu/General/Directions/