Team from Mexico Develops Wearable 'Smash-a-Ball' Game for Visually Impaired Kids
Natasha Lomas - TechCrunch
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March 18, 2015

Smash-a-Ball - Electronic toy for the visual impaired (Kickstarter)

A Mexican educational psychologist duo has teamed up to build toys for blind or visually impaired kids. The first device they’re building is a wearable game called Smash-a-ball, which is being designed to help kids’ cognitive development.

The toy will consist of a backpack (and possibly also a wrist-based wearable, depending on how much funding they raise) which provides tactile (rather than visual) feedback which the kids then have to copy/pattern-match by hitting the corresponding buttons on the main board. Other games are in the works.

“When the child is wearing the backpack he will get tactile stimulus from the backpack in a way that he/she has to mimic with the main board, as fast and precise possible,” explains co-founder Pedro Bori. “With this first game mods, they will enhance their cognitive development in key skills like body and spatial awareness, increasing the reaction rate and the memory, as well as building a more solid self-esteem.

“With these skills promoted, we can say they can adapt better to new spaces and places, they will avoid accidents at dining table our schools desk, as well as in the streets when they get warned by possible hazard, because they’ll react faster.”

Although the pair started work on the concept back in 2012, in Mexico, they founded their startup in Scotland last May after winning a place on the UK Trade and Investment’s Sirius Programme, which supports international graduate entrepreneurs. They’ve now taken to Kickstarter to try to raise £100,000 in crowdfunding to turn their current prototype into a polished product.

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