In 2016, around 75 children in the age group of 10-14 years, from the CHIREC International School in Hyderabad, came together and spent roughly two months thinking of and developing innovative games, for a one-day arcade.
The unique part of this project? The entire arcade was designed for visually impaired students, and was the first of its kind in the world!
The children who developed the arcade are associated with Better By Design (BBD). BBD works with schoolchildren to help them develop creative confidence, logical thinking and human-centric thinking.
Speaking to The Better India, BBD said, “We take children through a year of different challenges, each designed to make the kids ideate and think of solutions to smaller problems in the world around them and learn to work, hands-on, to prototype their ideas.
These challenges are designed to help them look at inconveniences as an opportunity to exercise the ability to find creative solutions.”
The arcade was born as a result to make children more considerate and help them broaden their worldview. “Until now, the kids looked at their world, identified problems that affected them and found solutions. With the arcade, for the first time in the program, they would affect other lives, understand alternative lifestyles, empathise and witness, for themselves, the impact they are capable of creating,” BBD informed The Better India.
30 visually-impaired students from the Devnar School For The Blind participated in this brilliant compilation of innovations. Other students, who were well-sighted, were also welcome to join in but had to be blindfolded. These students got to witness how the world feels for the visually impaired.
Each game designed in the arcade had optimised sensory stimuli and heightened sounds and even weight!
The process started with interviewing and observing visually impaired students. This helped the student developers to get a better understanding of the world without light.
“We saw their interest, what they disliked and the way they use touch and the way they communicate and the way they do their daily activities. We got a better understanding of that so we could implement that in our games,” says a student who designed this arcade.
Dance-dance revolution, foosball, and an aeroplane simulator—with alterations—were some of the games in the arcade.
Needless to say, the children, both developers, and participants were more than thrilled to enjoy this one-day event. Commending the schoolchildren for their hard work, BBD summed up their feelings by informing The Better India that, “The arcade imprinted a sense of achievement and fulfilment. They have vivid memories of the event. In addition to the effort they put into building the arcade, their personal interactions with the visually impaired children also struck them deeply.”
“What can innovators do for the differently-abled? Some make their lives simpler, some make them easier, and some, make them burst with joy!”
Here’s a video that will show you how the arcade came to be.