Coding Platforms for the Visually Impaired: Microsoft Code Jumper @Microsoft @allisondlinn @APHfortheBlind

Recent technologies are aimed at providing coding opportunities for blind and partially sighted individuals.  One technology is Microsoft Code Jumper:

…Students are taking out brightly colored plastic pods, connecting them together with thick white wires and then adjusting the pod’s buttons and knobs. These physical components will be used to create computer programs that can tell stories, make music and even crack jokes.

The students at New College Worcester are all blind or with low vision, and they are part of a group of students across the UK who have spent the previous school year beta testing Project Torino, a research project that led to the development of a new product called Code Jumper. It’s a physical programming language that is designed to be inclusive of children with all ranges of vision.

“What I like about Project Torino is that you can actually touch, physically, the program,” said Victoria, 14 and a student at the school, which serves about 80 students.

Microsoft has announced plans to transfer the research and technology behind Code Jumper to the American Printing House for the Blind, a nonprofit based in Louisville, Kentucky, that creates and distributes products and services for people who are blind or with low vision. Over the next five years, APH plans to offer Code Jumper and related curriculum to students throughout the world, with a target audience of students who are 7 to 11 years old.

Victoria sits at a table in her wheel chair between two adults, smiling before a string of colored plastic pods

The nonprofit’s leaders say the goal isn’t just to introduce kids to coding – it’s also to give them the underlying skills that can lead to a career in computer science.

“This is an opportunity for thousands of people to have meaningful and well-paying jobs,” said Larry Skutchan, director of technology and product research for APH.

The impetus for Code Jumper began about four years ago, when Cecily Morrison, a Microsoft researcher and computer scientist, began exploring technology options for her son, Ronan, who was born blind. Morrison was surprised to discover that many of the technologies available to Ronan and other children who are blind were far clunkier and more out-of-date than the smartphones, tablets and other technology that most kids today use, because few organizations had the resources to modernize them.

Read more about Code Jumper on microsoft.com and see the BBC Click video below on Code Jumper and iPad technologies. Thanks to Sophy for the tip!

Know of programs for helping bring inclusivity to STEM? Let us know in the comments below.


As 2022 starts, let’s take some time to share our goals for CircuitPython in 2022. Just like past years (full summary 2019, 2020, and 2021), we’d like everyone in the CircuitPython community to contribute by posting their thoughts to some public place on the Internet. Here are a few ways to post: a video on YouTub, a post on the CircuitPython forum, a blog post on your site, a series of Tweets, a Gist on GitHub. We want to hear from you. When you post, please add #CircuitPython2022 and email circuitpython2022@adafruit.com to let us know about your post so we can blog it up here.

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 32,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


Maker Business — Pololu’s account of the chip shortage

Wearables — Make it sticky

Electronics — Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your semiconductor is DOA

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Raspberry Pi Pico turns one and more! #Python #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF

Adafruit IoT Monthly — 2021 in Recap!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — NEW PRODUCT – ESP32­-S3­-DevKitC-1 – ESP32-S3-WROOM-2 – 32MB Flash 8MB PSRAM

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.