Brain training for the blind and partially sighted

Among the social activities ONCE runs to achieve full inclusion for people who are blind and severely partially sighted in Spain, several focus on boosting accessibility in different areas of life such as new technologies and free-time activities.

Today, thanks to the ONCE-VODAFONE Brain Training project, we have managed to bring both together, making it possible for our younger and older members alike to enjoy equal access to the biggest brain training games platform in Spanish.

Leisure is an important part of development for every individual, and the same is true for ONCE members. However, a lack of accessibility often makes it impossible for us to enjoy the same opportunities for leisure activities. Over the past few months we have attempted to focus on this field by working on several initiatives, such as providing our members with leisure-related products such as Rubik's cubes, noughts and crosses, the goose game and parchis.  

We've also taken our first steps in the field of technologies by releasing our Dados (Dice) mobile app, which now has over 1200 users, showing just how popular leisure time projects and initiatives are among our members. 

Today we are launching a joint project - ONCE-VODAFONE Brain Training - involving ONCE's personal independence and education departments and CIDAT (the ONCE research and development centre for technologies for the visually impaired), along with developer UNOBRAIN. Thanks to the project we have designed the world's first accessible brain gym, helping to keep our brains in shape through a range of games designed by neuropsychologists that stimulate cognitive capacities like memory, attention, learning and executive functions, while having fun at the same time. 

The project includes a free and accessible mobile app available for both for both Apple and Android. The initial version will feature five games and more will be added every month until the final nine-game package is on-line.

Our accessible games will be part of the Unobrain app, available for download from the AppStore or Google Play from November 21st. Once installed, users will need to activate the VoiceOver or TalkBack screen reader and the app will automatically display accessible games. Once you sign up in the app, which asks for certain data only for statistical purposes, such as your username, e-mail address, password, age and sex, you can access the games platform.

The app will suggest a daily training session involving three games. If you want to play any of the other games, just navigate to the menu and select ‘games' to choose from a list of all the available games.

Without a doubt, thanks to this project, blind and partially sighted children and adults will get the chance to exercise their memory, mental agility and dexterity while enjoying themselves. The games have been designed with both aural and visual aspects in mind to make them not only accessible but inclusive and entertaining as users can play, or rather train, with their families and friends.