July is Disability Pride Month and we’re excited to celebrate the honour of supporting the disabled community for over 15 years!
We work to transform the lives of people with physical disabilities right across the world through the innovative use of technology. At the core of this mission is our work to optimise inclusion, enjoyment and quality of life by helping people control video games to the best of their abilities for as long as they need us. This mission of inclusion extends beyond gaming, whether that’s by using eye-gaze technology to bring communication, independence and hope for people in intensive care units with a severe injury or illness, or by using telepresent robots to reconnect medically isolated children with their education and friends. Whatever we do, we’re committed to making life better for the people that need us, for as long as possible.
Over the last 15 years we’ve supported thousands of people and been able to share the knowledge and experience we’ve gained through the development of accessible games and resources like gameaccess.info, EyeMine, Eye Gaze Games and our DevKit.
We first met Lucinda after she found out about us online and wanted to get into gaming with a Nintendo Switch. In our first few visits we worked on an accessible gaming setup for her using a chin joystick and a button switch. From there, Lucinda was introduced to our Eye Gaze Games, which allowed her to play chess with people across the world. Since then, she’s been instrumental in helping us test our eye gaze games and provided us with vital feedback to help us make them as fun, fair, and simple to play as possible.
This tour could well be the very first of its kind, and we’re thankful to Lucinda and the Smithsonian Museum for making this collaboration a reality.
We first started working with Rob in 2013 after he became paralysed from the neck down as the result of a car accident. A friend of the family had recently heard our Founder and CEO Dr Mick Donegan giving a talk about SpecialEffect, and they thought we might be able to help Rob out.
During our first visits, our Stargaze team introduced him to eye tracking technology which allowed him to use a computer to play games, keep in touch with his friends, and regain a sense of independence. During his rehabilitation, Rob was then introduced to further accessible technologies such as speech control.
In 2014 Rob was offered an unconditional place at Bristol University and passed with first class honours. He then joined Bristol-based law firm Osbourne Clarke for workplace training and in 2022 became a fully qualified solicitor. He’s also a wheelchair rugby coach, became the first tetraplegic to complete a Tough Mudder, and has recently been nominated for the Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Award.
Becky’s now a talented eye-gaze artist and is currently studying Applied Computing in Scotland. She’s used her eyes to paint beautiful portraits of Queen Elizabeth, the streamer Boba_Witch, and even Grayson Perry after she appeared on his Channel 4 TV show.
We can’t wait to see what Becky gets up to next!
What are YOU most proud of?
Earlier this month we asked the SpecialEffect community via social media what made them proud in their lives, and here are some of the responses:
From Jenivere on Twitter: I’m proud of how I have learned to accept my disabilities and limitations, working with them instead of against them, so I stop making things worse for myself. I’m excited about a new powerchair soon, and to keep creating art, music, and indie video game things when I can <3
From Kyra Morrison on Facebook: I am so proud of Natalie Costin She’s an amazing streamer and has come SO far since beginning her streaming journey. She’s had her tough times but has always picked herself back up and carried on, she’s a strong individual and I admire her so much for that! She’s a super fun person and is guaranteed to always make us laugh and smile during her streams She’s also a fantastic friend, her friendship is something I’m grateful for! Truly a wonderful person
From TheWobblyWife on Twitter: @TheWobblyGamer who is my amazing husband, he is also a fantastic father to our son and doesn’t let his VI get in his way of anything, including his work life. I couldn’t be any more proud of everything he has achieved and overcome!! Xxx
We’d like to say a massive THANK YOU to all of you for your kindness and generosity over the years. Without your support we wouldn’t have been able to help people with physical disabilities to enjoy a better quality of life. Whether your involvement has been through a donation of time, skills, or funds, your support has been absolutely crucial to our past, present and future impact.