Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Audio Darts for the Blind

Audio Dart Master is the first accessible dartboard designed for home use by those who are blind and visually impaired. The board uses computer and speech technology to enable blind players to orient shots. All menus speak and the board’s online help provides the rules for 12 different games.

To start, you use arrow keys to select the number of players (inserting names, if desired) and the game you wish to play. You throw your darts, then go to the board and hit the Change Player arrow. Audio Dart Master tells you to remove your darts and then calls the next player to their turn. There’s a Stats key to remind players what the score and who’s up. The board also has sound affects: when you match an opponent’s round total in “Killer,” (knocking their score back to zero), you hear a scream; getting “three-in-a-bed” prompts a triple “boing” sound. They make the game more fun.

Audio Dart Master gives directions; it combines clock-face terms with point value (e.g. 1:00, 18) to help blind people learn the board’s layout. Audio Dart Master also indicates when darts hit in or out of the double or triple rings, that’s a big deal for someone who can’t see; it enables them to adjust their aim on the next shot. You can find boards that will call out numbers, but won’t add scores, indicate position, teach games, or provide online help. Audio Dart Master is also smaller and far less expensive than other talking boards designed for arcades.

Audio Dart Master exemplifies technology’s profound impact on the development of accessible recreation. The board’s programming doesn’t simply adapt a game for the blind, but provides efficiencies and interactivity that afford all players a deeper appreciation of darts.

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