The kids played the use of creative directors, using their imagination to set the vision for their own games. Each game represented personalities and their interests. Hannah’s enthusiasm for music resulted in a game where you play notes by typing them. Matthew mixed his interest in soccer and spy thrillers to produce a game where you shoot football balls targets by typing their Morse letters. Emmett made a maze you solve composing different letters. Made a game where YouTube movies are displayed on a train once the letters have been typed in Morse Code. And Olivia’s love for gift shows led to some game called”Alphabet’s Got Talent.”
Our first effort was a small connect-the-dots spelling toy which drew Emmett’s favorite cartoon character and just took to build. We knew we wanted to do more, after watching Emmett get put up with his switches and start conquering pieces of this small Morse toy. We partnered with Flexible Design on a 48 hour hackathon, where game developers and designers worked with another 4 children and Emmett to prototype games which made Morse code fun to learn.
We’re posting the code for every independent team’s games around the Experiments with Google site, where you can also locate open-source examples which can allow you to get started with your own Morse-based apps. If you’re a developer, we expect these resources will inspire you to become involved with the community and make a difference by building your personal accessibility projects.
We met Emmett in Adaptive Design Association, a company near Google’s NYC office that builds custom adaptations. Communicating for him is difficult–he looks at squares that are specific to attempt to get across what he would like to say and uses a plastic word board. We thought we might have the ability to help.
At the time, we were working on a particular Morse Code design for Gboard. With its dot and dash encoding, Morse is a good match for assistive tech like switch accessibility and sip-and-puff devices. Emmett hoped to find out Morse and we wanted to make a game to help him learn the new alphabet.