Gobal Risk Reduction
A Special Interest Group (SIG) of American Mensa Ltd.


Global risk issues

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A distraction--Adaptive Sketch

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A distraction—Adaptive sketch

We pitch global risk reduction as an intellectual challenge and an intellectual adventure. After describing each global risk, it is appropriate to say “more work is needed.” What we offer here is not so much a set program, it is an opportunity to be an independent intellectual and set your own program. We don’t need Indians, we need chiefs. (If this leaves you wondering what to do, contemplate a list of global risks and try some of Win Wenger’s creativity exercises, for example image streaming, as discussed at www.winwenger.com. Win Wenger is a member of this SIG.)

When brainstorming ideas, sometimes you get serendipity. Two SIG members happen to have worked on adaptive software, an issue very indirectly related to global risk. Our mutual interest inspired collaborative work. We are presenting a beta version here, and inviting occupational therapists and adaptive equipment specialists to look at it here. We decided to do it here rather that setting up a new website partly out of convenience, but partly to demonstrate the activity of stirring up creativity. This just might inspire others to apply similar creativity to global risk issues.

Adaptive software has an interface that is useful to handicapped people. This version is for people who are severely physically handicapped, and can only push a single switch. There are switches that can pick up a movement such as an eye blink or a brow wrinkle. For demonstration purposed with this software, the left mouse button or a key press is used to simulate the switch.

The software uses an “arrow cursor.” An arrow cursor is an arrow that is rotating, pointing first North, then Northeast, then East, and so forth. When the switch is pressed, the arrow stops rotating and starts moving in the direction it is pointing. It can be moved to any position on a grid by waiting until it is pointing in that direction, then holding the switch to make it move there.

At one point in its rotation, the arrow is replaced by another symbol. A switch press during the appearance of that symbol invokes a menu that scrolls among three states. One state is a pencil. When in the pencil state, the arrow makes a mark in each square it visits. Another state is an eraser. When in the eraser state, the arrow erases any mark in each square it visits. The final state allows the arrow to travel while leaving intact marks in any square it visits. A switch press selects the state.

The software is available here.

The arrow cursor protocol was developed by James Blodgett. [James Blodgett "The Arrow Cursor: A Pointing Device For People Who Use A Single Adaptive Switch," Communication Outlook, Summer 1989, p. 6-7.] The adaptive sketch software demonstrated here was developed by James Tankersley. This is a beta version. Send suggestions for improvement via our contact protocol. See “contact us” on this website front page.

Here is a sample sketch made with the software:

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