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MICOLE Improves Learning For Visually-Impaired Children

The IST program-funded Multimodal Collaboration Environment for Inclusion of Visually Impaired Children (MICOLE), a European project aimed at developing game interfaces t...
The IST program-funded Multimodal Collaboration Environment for Inclusion of Visually Impaired Children (MICOLE), a European project aimed at developing game interfaces that support collaboration, data exploration, communication and creativity of visually impaired and sighted children, has been announced. The project team is working to implement a number of different interfaces to aid disabled children, ranging from a type of Simon memory game to a clone of Pong, according to a Medical News Today report. MICOLE's partners have also confirmed that they are working closely with national and local associations and organizations of visually-disabled persons, as well as schools in order to design the system itself and meet the needs of its potential users. According to MICOLE's website, much of this also involves supporting activities, such as empirical research concerning haptic, or tactile interfaces. "We are experimenting with how to use different senses to partially replace missing visual capabilities, especially in tasks that are central in the construction of the system," commented Roope Raisamo, University of Tampere, Finland. "Empirical research of collaborative and cross-modal haptic interfaces for visually-impaired children is one of the most important research activities." The project team has also conducted interviews with teachers, children and related user organizations in order to better understand how visually-impaired children function within the school environment, and also to what extent they work with others. However, MICOLE is also being engineered so that it may also benefit all children, including those with different disabilities. "The system adapts to the users. It is aimed at visually-impaired children, but because it facilitates collaboration among sighted and visually-impaired children, it also supports sighted children," explains Raisamo. The full Medical News Today report has more detail on the MICOLE project, as well as comments from MICOLE's partners. More information is also available on the official MICOLE website.

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