Chan Kwon, community affairs manager, Microsoft Korea
It is always really cool when our community partners take a new technology and find a way to make it work to help them deliver their own mission. There have been lots of examples of technologies like mobile phones or PCs being used and sometimes we forget about gaming-not anymore!
Last month Microsoft Korea in partnership with the Korean Institute of the Disabled for Independent Living held the “Kinect Contest for People with Severe Disabilities” to provide people with disabilities, most of whom use wheelchairs, with the opportunity to use the Xbox 360 with a Kinect sensor to enjoy sports games they had never thought to be able to play.
The idea actually came from the Institute. They had already seen, in an informal way, the possibility of rehabilitation benefits of using the Kinect sensor after Microsoft Korea had donated an Xbox 360 and Kinect package earlier in the year. The contest became a real cross-group effort with Microsoft staff working with Microsoft’s local Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) – a community of individuals outside Microsoft who are experts and community leaders in Microsoft technology - volunteer their time to make the event a success. In addition the Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business of Microsoft Korea updated Xbox 360 Kiosks with Kinect, so that people with disabilities could easily enjoy playing with the technology.
The result of the contest went far beyond anything either Microsoft Korea or the Institute expected. The participants immediately got immersed in the games from bowling and boxing, which created a real feeling of energy in the room with the audience and volunteers also getting involved cheering and applauding.
There were two prizes of an Xbox 360 with a Kinect sensor, one for an organization supporting people with disabilities and one for an individual winner. The prizes were awarded by Hyoungjin Shin, an amazing man who operates a computer with his eyes lying in the bed and has just graduated Yonsei University.
The event showcased that technology doesn’t just provide people with severe disabilities with access to communication and knowledge, but to fun and entertainment as well.
For more stories from Microsoft Korea, check out the Local Impact Map.
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