Microsoft wants to help blind and visually impaired students break down barriers to coding with its physical programming language.
Code Jumper was developed out of Project Torina, a system that helps visually impaired and blind kids ages 7 to 11 develop coding skills. The physical programming language consists of large, bright colored blocks that allow students to create music, tell stories and more.
Microsoft is partnering with American Printing House for the Blind (APH), a nonprofit based in Louisville, Kentucky. APH creates and distributes products and services for people who are blind or with low vision. According to Microsoft, APH will provide the Code Jumper technology to students across the world over the next several years.
“It became really clear that, for a 7- or 8-year-old, it was going to be really hard to use assistive technology to code,” Cecily Morrison, a Microsoft researcher and computer scientist, said in a blog post. “We realized we really need something physical, something that would excite the hands.”
APH is planning to launch the technologies in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and India later this year. The technology is expected to expand worldwide within the next five years.