Talking archery target
The client is a 10 year old boy who has been totally blind since birth. He is very determined and has learnt to play a keyboard instrument and to ride a bike in the playground apparently using echo location to avoid obstacles. He attends a main stream primary school with special needs teaching assistants. His teachers were keen to achieve two goals –
- To improve his ability to use sound as a guide to the outside world.
- To allow him to join in sports activities with his peers.
The Talking Archery Target is the second Remap device of this type produced for him. The first, the Aim Trainer consisted of a target which emitted a sound for him to use as location for aiming and throwing a ball. The target gave a verbal response when the ball struck. This device could also be attached to the net of a football goal and to the stumps in cricket. Following the success of this device, his teachers asked for something more challenging resulting in this project to produce an archery target which could respond to an arrow strike with a verbal message.
The target uses a standard archery target sheet for appearance and alignment (and for the use of sighted users). A speaker box immediately above the target emits a continuous sound to allow the user to locate the target. Behind the front face, the target is split into 4 quadrants with each quadrant having the 1 to 9 scoring rings and a section in the centre for the bullseye. Each section is an individual electrical circuit (37 in total) which produces a pulse of electricity when the arrow strikes. The arrows are foam tipped so that they are safe to use and do not penetrate the target. A micro-computer continuously monitors all 37 target segments to “catch” any pulse that occurs anywhere on the target at any time. When a pulse occurs, the software identifies the segment which has been struck and, using a speech simulator, tells the archer the score and the area of the target where the arrow has landed, e.g. “You scored six in the north east quadrant” or perhaps “Yippee, bullseye, you scored ten”.
The key feature of this device is that the user can practice on his own without having to rely on someone to tell him what he has scored, but can also compete on equal terms against his sighted friends. Based on experience so far, he will soon be beating all of them.