I stumbled across this TED talk by Holly Cohen about building accessible fart machines with Arduino. As someone who loves to tell jokes – and particularly loves a good fart joke – the phrase “they were the ones telling the jokes” makes me impossibly happy.
When I was a teacher in Japan I taught two young sisters with cerebral palsy. Both girls could neither move nor talk but they loved to smile and laugh at a good joke or goof about their teachers – like any other junior high school kid. The highlight of my week was hanging out with those girls, I know they would have loved their own fart machine.
In 2018 (two years after this talk), Microsoft launched their revolutionary $99 Xbox Adaptive Controller which is helping kids with motor control difficulties play video games. It’s like the adaptive tech shown at the end of Cohen’s talk, but way more professional. It must have cost a pretty penny to design, research, and productize this device. So what’s the ROI on creating an accessible interface? It doesn’t fuckin’ matter. That’s what. It’s about bringing people in on the fun.