Chess for the blind and disabled

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by DaveNave, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. DaveNave

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 21, 2010
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    Hi,

    My brother, Chris, is physically disabled in his upper body and is blind and deaf at the same time, but he is certainly not dumb. He recently discovered how to play chess and really loves it, but it has proven difficult for him to find someone who is willing to play with him on a real board. That is why I am researching the possibility to use an interface such as TandemMaster (http://www.tandemmaster.org/) or similar to build a device so that he can play versus a computer software.

    There are several chess softwares on the market where it is possible to enter a move (e.g. a1a2, corresponding to a movement from a1 to a2) from the keyboard and then press enter. As I understand it, this would be possible to do using TandemMaster. The issue is how he can recieve the moves back. The chess softwares that are available generate a soundbyte with the move that it has played e.g. it might say "King from a1 to a2. But because Chris is deaf he needs to receive his moves in some other way.

    My thought is to change the speaking voice to morse code like soundbytes by altering the sound files and then instead of using a loud speaker I will utilise a vibrator that will pick up on the distinct morse code sound. More specifically, "King from a1 to a2" is actually King.wmv+from.wmv+a1.wmv+to.wmv+a2.wmv. By changing the person speaking to biiiiping sounds they could be translated into vibrator signals.

    What do you think about this, is it plausible? Do you know of any better solution in conjunction with an interface like TandemMaster?

    Thank you for you help!

    David
     
  2. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
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    Now there is a knarly problem. I know it can be solved, but don't have a clue how to do it. If I see something I will certainly get back with you.

    A long time ago I think I saw several chess sets where the pieces moved themselves via electromagnets under the board, and could sense a move on the board via sensors. Is this something your bro could use?
     
  3. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
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    Interesting problem.

    Does your brother understand Morse code?

    Rather than go through a list of things, what is the preferred mode of communication with your brother; what does he understand the best?
     
  4. DaveNave

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 21, 2010
    3
    0
    Thank you, I have seen this chess set you mention. The problem is that my brother needs assistance in that case. The chess board he plays on is a special chess set for blind people which makes it possible for him to locate the squares and pieces more easily. He cannot do that with this one, but your suggestion is still valid.
     
  5. DaveNave

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 21, 2010
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    0
    He is very good at Morse code but understands Braille as well.
     
  6. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Are you willing to build something from scratch?
     
  7. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I was thinking of a mechanical version. Ideally it would be on a chess board, but I have no idea if it is practical or not. I wouldn't be surprised if something along those lines have been invented.

    Windows comes with a text to speech converter that could be useful, along with a games link that can connect to other people all over the world.
     
  8. BMorse

    Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2009
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    This site here >> http://www.gnu.org/software/xboard/ , would be a good start to get the chess application, has a lot of different ways the game can be played, (by email, over the web, etc.) some of the interfacing could be used to interface to a text to braille / braille to text conversion to play and receive moves.... the playing over email sounds like a good start for an interface, then you can just format the output of the text to braille / braille to text in the email format for the game to parse and play....

    of course the fun part is coming up with your brothers input controls, you would need to design an interface for him to read the braille output / morse-code, and type in his response or moves, then there would have to be an application on the PC to convert his inputs to the email format and place them to where the game can read them, then the PC app has to be able to read the games output format and convert that to braille or morse-code for your brother to receive.

    My .02

    B. Morse
     
  9. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    3,871
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    Have you have already checked with these folks?

    http://www.crisscrosstech.com/usbca/

    It's the U.S. Braille Chess Association. I don't know what your brother needs, but they seem to have some experience that might help.
     
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