[nfb-talk] Audible Ball Project Update

Michael Bullis bullis.michael at gmail.com
Sat Mar 3 19:14:22 UTC 2018


Saturday, March 3, 2017

For those of you who follow the audible game ball project, we have news, but
first, a little background.

The goal of the audible ball project is to create an audible game ball for
people who are blind so they can play the same games as their sighted
friends.  The ball will have the same weight and bounce as an off-the-shelf
ball that everyone else plays with.  Four Square, Horse and volleyball are
all games that become possible, the same games that sighted kids the world
over play but that blind kids currently don't.


On Wednesday we tested our most recent prototype of the ball and for a
glorious twenty-five minutes (who's counting), it worked!  We could hear the
ball, pass it to one another, hear our shots as they arced toward the
basket.  Pretty cool and then snap!!  Yes, the tiny speaker snapped off and
the electronics dropped lazily into the ball, never to be seen again until I
cut the ball open.  The ball is now resting comfortably, awaiting further
research or burial.


But wait, there's more.  Thanks to the brave work of Ardrian Newell, a
Masters Degree student from The New York Film Academy in Burbank California,
who traveled cross country in this recent miserable storm, we are
documenting our work on the audible ball.  She will be publishing her video
documentary in the coming months.  Stay tuned.


We couldn't have done any of this without the willing assistance of Dr.
Michael Bina and the staff at the Maryland School for the Blind who have
been there at every call, helping with set-up, scheduling, examples of other
game balls and their extensive knowledge of blind sports throughout the
world.  Connecting with sports-minded blind folks will be a key to success
and the Maryland School for the Blind is a leader.


Special thanks also go out to volunteers Pete Accosta, engineers Dan Hedges
and Rod Boudreaux from V-Linc,  and Gary Williams who brings real basketball
coaching knowledge and out-of-the-box ideas to the project.


if you didn't think all of this was enough, this week, the Spalding
Corporation agreed to assist with the project.  Spalding has been a leader
in the development of electronics in game balls.  This partnership is truly
a game-changer for us.


Hopefully within a year, your blind child will be able to play four-square
or horse along with the neighbor kids down the street.  When the ball
bounces off the rim and lands in the bushes she can take her turn at finding
it, just like everyone else.


If you want to be on the email update list about this project, send an email
to me at: bullis.michael at gmail.com





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