Target: Kyle Rector, creator of “Eyes-Free Yoga”
Goal: Applaud yoga software program for the visually impaired
Kyle Rector, a PhD candidate in computer science and engineering at the University of Washington, has created a program called “Eyes-Free Yoga” through Microsoft Kinect that makes yoga accessible to the visually impaired. This program eliminates the need to see your instructor in order to learn yoga poses by analyzing the player’s body position using cameras and skeletal-tracking technology, providing auditory feedback until the player achieves the correct pose.
“Eyes-Free Yoga” is an “exergame,” a game played without a touch-screen or remote. This program teaches the visually-impaired six yoga poses, including Mountain Pose, Warrior I, Warrior II, Reverse Warrior, Tree Pose and Chair Pose. Julie Kientz, an assistant professor who collaborated on the project, said, “I see this as a good way of helping people who may not know much about yoga to try something on their own and feel comfortable and confident doing it. We hope this acts as a gateway to encouraging people with visual impairments to try exercise on a broader scale.”
This program was created on six admirable principles: it is accessible, yogic, encourages confidence, targets newcomers to yoga exercise, ensures accessibility features do not compromise learning, and provides a challenging workout. Thirteen out of sixteen research study participants, all visually impaired, said they would recommend this program to their friends. Thank Kyle Rector for breaking barriers, making yoga a practice everyone can enjoy.
Dear Kyle Rector,
Thank you for creating “Eyes-Free Yoga,” a revolutionary way for everyone, especially those who are visually impaired, to practice and enjoy yoga. Yoga, and other exercises, used to be inaccessible to those with visual impairments and are unable to see the instructor’s physical example of the poses. This program makes yoga enjoyable for everyone, using precise verbal feedback to help individuals achieve the perfect yoga pose.
This program opens the door for the visually impaired to enjoy any kind of exercise or dance movement through similar computer software programming. Thank you for breaking down the barrier that is present in most fitness or dance classes that keeps visually impaired persons from participating because they are unable to physically see the example given. Not only might this program lead to similar home programs for these individuals, but it might also make fitness and dance instructors aware of the possibilities that come with precise verbal feedback in a social class setting, paving the way for visually impaired persons to be successful in these classes as well. Thank you for creating such a compassionate and meaningful program.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Local Fitness via Wikimedia Commons