Coding is a skill that every kid needs to get exposed to. However, children with visual impairment face a tough time grasping the concepts of programming when they are taught in a traditional classroom.
To make programming easier for children who are blind or have low vision, Microsoft has announced the Code Jumper — a tethered hardware device designed to teach them how to code. This device is the implementation of Project Torino, which was announced back in 2017.
The Code Jumper comprises a series of pods, each of which contains a single line of code, which in turn represents a set of commands. The pods can be joined together in different sequences to create an instructional program.
Even though there are other popular programming languages available for kids that are used in several primary schools, they don’t work efficiently for visually impaired children.
One such language is Scratch, which involves dragging colored blocks of code around a screen and combining them to create a functional piece of code. But the language makes use of animations to teach fundamental concepts, which is great only for the sighted students.
After four years of development, Microsoft has handed over both the research and technology of Code Jumper to the American Printing House for the Blind. The product will be made available in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, and India in 2019. It is expected to be launched worldwide within the next five years.