Whenever Yashovardhan Kothari, Dhruv Jhaveri and Dev Kapashi hung out together or went on trips, they realised that not all board games were fun for Jhaveri’s younger brother Moksha, 13, who is visually challenged. It prompted the three teenaged friends to design one for Moksha and those like him.
“We didn’t find many games for the visually impaired in the market and those that were there were expensive and had to be imported from the US. So we started brainstorming and asked Moksha various questions on what he was looking for so that we could fill the void in the market,” says Kothari, 17, a Class XII student of Mumbai’s BD Somani International School.
Vision Beyond, the game the trio built, is a table-size electronically-run one that took them nearly two years to put together. A quiz game based on the popular show Kaun Banega Crorepati, the trio used 3D printing, coding language Python, and Raspberry Pi, the single-board computer, to build it. Each player has four chips, marked A, B, C, and D in Braille. The player chooses an option and places the chip in the centre of the board, which has an RFID scanner that tells if the answer is correct or not. “We have ensured that the game is portable and limited the use of buttons,” says Kothari.
In the process of developing the game, the three friends held discussions with visually-impaired children to learn about their expectations from a game. “Sketching, learning how to code, creating 3D modules, importing voice were all challenging,” says Kothari.
The trio was taking the game to different people to get it tested and receive feedback but the COVID-19 lockdown threw a spanner in their work. They are in talks with the National Blind Association to initiate a fundraiser to help take the game to their target audience.
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