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SpecialEffect News

22 May 2013

Ajay's aiming high

'I know there are basic one-click games out there but I don't want to limit myself to basic games. I'd like to be able to play ALL games.'

That's taken from an email we received from Ajay back in January. He's a 35 year-old man with spinal muscular atrophy, and he has virtually no movement in his arms and legs.

So it was an office high-five last week when Gav and Gillian came back from their third visit to Ajay with huge smiles on their faces. "Call of Duty," grinned Gav. "He'd even managed a couple of hits before we left."

We visited Ajay for the first time in February, and he'd already told us that he used head movement to control the pointer on his PC. He clicked by using a switch on the side of his wheelchair as he has a bit of hanging hand movement there. We concentrated on adding the potential of mouth control, and tried an easier-to-use Xbox controller mounted in a position where he could use the left analog stick with his mouth. We also spent some time experimenting with the suck and blow IntegraMouse.

He didn’t get along with these two setups, so on our next visit we worked with him to maximise his voice control and PC head control. Slowly we began to make progress, and by matching the game settings with the technology, he was up and running with FIFA 13.

But Ajay had his sights set on first person shooters. Last week we tried a low-force, minimum movement HMC mini-joystick which was perfect for his mouth. We used the existing switch on the side of his wheelchair as a shoot button, and with some very careful positioning Gillian was able to free up enough movement in his left thumb for him to use another switch to walk forward with (that's why we love our occupational therapists!). Gav garnished this setup with some game-specific voice controls and voila: Call of Duty Black Ops 2!

It's yet another reminder that all gamers, disabled or otherwise, set themselves high standards and challenging targets. And long may it continue. It's not our job to tell people what they can and can't do: it's our privilege to be able to help them achieve the best they possibly can.

Below: Running into space on the right wing. Love the Dandy mousemat.

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