Opla is an open educational board game adapted for visually impaired children.
Children living with moderate to severe visual impairment (VI) have difficulties developing spatial understanding due to a reduced experience of vision. Opla aims to reinforce progressively visuospatial ability through multisensory rehabilitation.
Opla is an open educational boardgame adapted for visually impaired children.
According to researchers, infants living with moderate to severe visual impairments have difficulties developing spatial understanding because they have a reduced perceptual process of comprehending two and three-dimensional arrangements, scale changes, and more complex concepts such as hierarchy, pattern, and continuity.
It is important to prompt children who have visual impairments to organise spatial information by different coding strategies which differ from visual experiences. There is a need to develop effective methods of communicating spatial information using a non-visual medium to improve their present and future quality of life.
Designing for small target groups can be challenging, especially when we consider the economic viability of products.
- a designed aluminium lamp - a DIY wooden coat rack - a board game for children
We designed Opla with an open-source and inclusive approach to offer an affordable and scalable product. All the parts can be produced by local manufacture technology. Opla reflects how potential new product can be integrated into society without worrying about the cost thanks to adaptable manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, laser cutting or CNC. According to interviews of « blind association », the integration of 3D printing and laser cutting inside the organisation could be plausible soon.
The aim is to provide an engaging, low-cost gaming platform for rehabilitation, which would alleviate the demands on the time and effort of teachers, therapist, caregiver and parents by allowing a VI child to review and reinforce their visuospatial skills through a series of multisensory serious games.
Opla offers different stages of usage. Young children will start by playing simple serious games, such as shape recognition or texture discrimination games. Once they are used to the board, they will add some separation tiles to make more complex games. They will be able to play alone, together or against each other.
Thanks to the phone as a tracker, many multisensory games are accessible to everyone and easy to set up. It will enable VI children to step toward independence.
Once children have developed a better spatial understanding of its environment, they can start playing without being assisted. Although someone still has to assemble the board for them, following instruction and doing their everyday exercise independently is already a considerable step toward independence. The phone becomes an object tracker and responds to the tiles' movement and position, creating a multisensory association between sound, touch, and vision.