Accessibility Arcade Tour

Semaphore Lab Accessibility Arcade


On Wednesday March 4th fellow Enables.Me team members Torrance Ho, Terrence Ho and myself met for a tour of The Accessibility Arcade located within the Robarts Library at U of T. The Arcade, Opened in April 2014, is a partnership between the Semaphore research cluster and AbleGamers Accessibility Arcades.

Our gracious guide and Research Coordinator of the Semaphore cluster Amy Ratelle showed us to a room containing a X-box, a computer and a wide variety of adaptive switches, controllers and joysticks. Amy explained what it is that Able Gamers and the Semaphore research cluster does and how this partnership of these similar organizations (with a common goal of improving inclusivity in the gaming world) came to be.


“There are nearly 100 million gamers with disabilities in the United States, but there are hundreds of millions worldwide. Game accessibility is a global problem that must be conquered on the global scale. We hope to continue spreading worldwide awareness that cutting-edge technological solutions exist to enable everyone to play video games no matter their disabilities,” said Barlet, Founder and Executive Director of the AbleGamers Charity.


Next we headed up to Semaphore’s main lab located on the 7th floor, the lab is a rather large space containing a workshop, computers and a glass enclosed room full of 3D printers. Amy talked more about the Semaphore research cluster’s three main areas of focus being Adaptive Gaming, Sensory Information Processing and Participatory Culture. We learned about an amazing project where a team from Semaphore traveled to Uganda to produce custom fit Sockets for limb prosthetists, a process that takes six days in Uganda can be completed in six hours for the cost of a $40 spool of filament.

It was a great experience visiting the Accessibility Arcade and learning more about the individuals and organizations that are striving to make the world more inclusive.

Neil Mercer is a Graphic Designer who works on a freelance basis, some notable projects have been for Tobias House Attendant Care inc., AYAAA a Youth Aids organization in Africa and Spectra Talent Showcase. Alongside his artistic talents Neil keeps active as a Board member of both Tobias House Attendant Care Inc. and Spectra Talent Showcase. He is also a successful event organizer with projects such as DreamsAway, Tobias House Attendant Care Inc. and the Sean Ross Memorial Summer Classic, now in its fourth year. In what spare time he has, Neil is an Goaltender in the Toronto Power Wheelchair Hockey League, an occasional public speaker as well a founding member of Equal Grounds. His interests are Music, Art,  Film, Food, and Travel.


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