Beeping basketball cues blind players

Basketball is an American pastime that visually impaired individuals have never been able to enjoy—until now.

The Hadley School for the Blind of Winnetka has received a prototype"beeping” basketball created by students at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terra Haute, Ind. The beeps make it easier for visually impaired players to locate the ball.

George Abbott, vice president of development and communication for the Hadley School, who is blind, says when he was a child, he could only play with sighted kids"on their turf.”

But because of a simple beeping mechanism, Abbot says he can now envision a visually impaired basketball league."Basketball is one of the most popular activities, but most blind kids couldn’t enjoy it,” Abbott says."I think it could make all the difference in the world.”

The team of creators hope the prototype reaches the masses. If the ball takes off, it could be integrated into physical education classes and could encourage the blind to get more physically active, Abbott says.

“Physical activity has always been a bit of a challenge for the visually impaired,” Abbott says."(The ball) makes sports more enjoyable and makes kids want to get out there and play.”

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