Maze Day 2008
April 30, 2008
About once a year, K-12 kids with disabilities from all over North Carolina (and beyond) travel to UNC-Chapel Hill to take part in Maze Day. Throughout the day, the kids, their teachers, and their parents wander Sitterson Hall to try out the numerous games, applications, activities, and demos designed to help them learn and have fun at the same time.
The kids always have a blast, and this year was no exception. Some of the 21 projects demoed this year included the following:
- Carolina Rocker: A rocking-horse game that combines exercise and acoustic localization.
- Carolina Beat: An accessible version of Dance Dance Revolution for a good exercise workout to music.
- Braille Twister: A twister game using a DDR pad to form Braille letters and get exercise.
- Sweet Beat: A vision-based, edible (yes, edible) music tracker.
- Deep View: Auditory display of complex diagrams.
I believe the estimated attendance this year was something like 80 kids and 90 adults. About 30 or so stopped by to try my demo of Clique. While many of the kids were young and not yet familiar with using desktop applications, they still enjoyed figuring out Clique's commands, typing messages, and hearing Clique's output. And when they got bored, they jumped to the ever popular Nanomanipulator demo in the same room to touch carbon nanotubes using a PHANTOM and Atomic Force Microscope data.
While the day is intended to give these kids a trip to remember, I think I have just as much fun watching their reactions to the various projects. I find it equally wonderful to see the CS department staff, faculty, and students band together to create a memorable experience for all of the visitors.