Chinese chess (Xiangqi) is centuries old; some historians date the game back
to 400 BC. All this time, blind and other visually disabled persons have
been unable to participate in one of China's most popular games.
But last year, design professor Michael Siu, of Hong Kong Polytechnical
University (PolyU), created a Chinese chess set for blind persons and
others with varying levels of visual impairments. The set, which can now be
played with sighted persons as well as other visually impaired persons, has
won international invention awards. But most importantly, Siu's invention
has opened up a national sport to millions of vision impaired persons that
allows them to be included in a very popular national game.
Last month the new chess set won the Grand Award and Gold Medal at the 36th
International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products in
Geneva. It has also won other international awards in the UK and Malaysia.
Here is why:
According to Professor Siu, "the chess set can help visually impaired people
distinguish different chess pieces, including the different colours of
pieces; search, read, locate, move and pick up pieces; read pieces from
different directions without any confusion; realize the whole setting of the
chess game; and learn and become familiar with the game easily. More
importantly, the newly invented international tactile information overcomes
the perplexing variations of existing Braille systems based on the
pronunciation of dialects."
Late last week, the manufacturer of the Chinese chess set for visually
impaired persons, Bunhoi Group, donated 1,000 sets to the China
Administration of Sports for Persons with Disabilities and the China
Association of the Blind. The donation is to promote interplay between
sighted persons and low-visioned and blind persons. This year, it is
hopeful that visually disabled persons will participate in provincial chess
competitions for the blind and, by next year, that they will join in the
national chess competition.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design via PRLog.org see Chinese
Chess at Wiki
Dean Masters, owner of the Masters List
"I would ratyher walk in the dark with Jesus than to walk in the light on my
own." Wayne Watson
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