AxArd

Welcome to the AxArd (Accessible Arduino) project! These pages contain resources (e.g., documentation, sketches) on the Arduino (etc), as a way of making it more accessible for blind and visually-disabled developers. At the moment, most of our sketches are based on the Arduino UNO, with a strong emphasis on Seeed's Grove System. However, we are definitely open to other approaches (e.g., migrating to Nerves for larger-scale systems).

Background

Although AxArd's resources can be used by anyone, they are primarily intended to help blind or visually-impaired users come up to speed on Arduino development. AxArd is being developed in conjunction with AxAp (Accessibility Application). However, users are encouraged to use (and tell us about!) any other tooling that serves their needs. If you have something to recommend or suggest, please send email to Rich Morin (rdm@cfcl.com), putting AxAp and/or AxArd in the subject line.

Motivation

Many Arduino "sketches" make the assumption that the user is sighted. For example, the canonical "first sketch" for Arduino users blinks a light-emitting diode (LED). Also, the standard Arduino development environment (IDE) is based on a graphical user interface (GUI) and may not play nicely with screen readers, etc.

The hardware side is also problematic for blind or visually-impaired users. Manipulating pin wires into tiny holes in headers (to say nothing of identifying parts and pins) can be a difficult and frustrating challenge. So, it shouldn't be allowed to get in the way of learning about electronic circuits or programming computers to interact with them.

Solution?

We were delighted to find out about Seeed's Grove System, a set of single-purpose devices (Groves) with a convenient system of four-pin "port" sockets and cables. Using this system as a starting point, we could create a set of documentation and software that is optimized for use by blind or visually-impaired users.

We already had a start on this, having prototyped a "Control Shield" for the Arduino and developed several example sketches for it. Unlike the typical Arduino sketch, these use audio and tactile cues, rather than visual ones. We plan to port them to the Grove System, then adapt other Grove sketches to be more accessible. (Naturally, we'd love to have help in this! :-)

Details

For detailed information, see the following pages:

Joshua Miele's Blind Arduino Blog is a collection of news and information about blind makers working with Arduino. It includes tutorials, advice, and projects of particular interest to the blind. The Blind Arduino Project, led by Dr. Miele, is a collaboration between LightHouse Labs and The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute.


This wiki page is maintained by Rich Morin, an independent consultant specializing in software design, development, and documentation. Please feel free to email comments, inquiries, suggestions, etc!

Topic revision: r34 - 18 Apr 2017, RichMorin
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