Google’s Morse code-powered games aim to serve kids with limited mobility

android p accessibility features gboard morse code

Google is now offering access to five games controlled entirely by Morse code, thanks to a 48 hour “hackathon,” and a partnership with Adaptive Design Association. The games use the Morse code functionality introduced into Gboard in May 2018, and are intended for people with limited mobility who cannot use other control methods, as well as for people who are interested in learning Morse code.

The games were created over a period of two days by five teams of game designers and developers, each working with a child with limited mobility. Each of these children worked as the game’s creative director, and their specific vision helped to shape the games, making them uniquely molded around each child’s interests. For instance, Olivia’s “Alphabet’s Got Talent” is modeled after the talent shows she loves, while Hannah’s game uses Morse code to play musical notes. Players will be able to shoot soccer balls at targets in Matthew’s game, and Ben’s passion for trains is clear in his game that shows YouTube videos on a train once the correct letters are typed. Emmett — whose learning of Morse code through a similar Google-built game inspired this challenge — created a maze solved by typing different letters.

Morse code is a simple but enduring method of communication. Composed of just dots and dashes, it has survived and withstood the onslaught of radios, telephones, and the internet — and is still used by many today, including the U.S. Navy and the Coast Guard. Part of the reason why Morse code has survived as well as it has comes down to its simplicity, and that’s what makes it the perfect tool for people who find it otherwise difficult to communicate. Since all that’s needed to use Morse code is a single input, it’s adaptable for a variety of circumstances, and simple enough to be learned quickly and easily.

Google is posting the code for each game on its Experiments with Google website, where they join other open-source examples of apps made with Morse code in mind. Google is hoping that these resources help to inspire other creators in making apps accessible to as many people as possible.

Product Review

'Marvel's Spider-Man' slings and swings its way to the top of the superhero heap

Insomniac's entry into the superhero genre has a big suit to fill, but ‘Marvel's Spider-Man’ is a phenomenal action game, a strong Spider-Man story, and an open-world game that has plenty to do without getting boring.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Gaming

Get caught up on all things 'Fallout 76,' including recent controversies

Bethesda's Fallout 76 takes the open world series in a new direction. With an emphasis on co-op, survival, and rebuilding a broken world, Fallout 76 is a far different game than its predecessors.
Computing

Microsoft asks Edge Insiders for help with its new browser development

If you want to be among the first to try Microsoft's new Edge browser that's built on Google's open-source Chromium rendering engine, you can sign up to be an Edge Insider. Microsoft is asking users to provide feedback.
Mobile

New Moment photo cases and lenses are a big plus for the OnePlus 6

Moment has announced that it is now releasing photo cases and lenses for the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T, giving owners of those phones the ability to add on some high-quality photographic accessories.
Mobile

Vivo Nex Dual Display Edition: Everything you need to know

The Vivo Nex Dual Edition is the gorgeous flagship we need to close out 2018. In addition to dual screens, the Nex Dual Edition has some other awesome features. Here's everything you need to know about the new Vivo Nex Dual Edition.
Deals

REI clearance sale extends discounts on Garmin, Fitbit, and GoPro devices

Beyond the things you typically expect to find at REI — like tents, skis, and jackets — there are tons of great deals on quality tech foryour outdoor adventures. From smartwatches to action cameras, here are the best tech deals.
Mobile

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best wireless earbuds around.
Mobile

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.
Social Media

#ThrowbackThursday is only the start: Instagram hashtags for every day of the week

Not getting your hashtag fill with #ThrowbackThursday or #ManCrushMonday? Here's a list of some of the more popular Instagram hashtags, so you can outfit your next post with the proper tag, regardless of what day it is.
Mobile

Protect your new iPhone with one of our favorite iPhone XR cases

Apple's new iPhone range is the toast of 2018, with beautiful style and more power than you can shake a stick at. But beauty can often be fragile -- keep the damage to a minimum with the best iPhone XR cases.
Computing

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Mobile

Apple's iOS 12.1.1 makes it easier to switch cameras in FaceTime

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.