Tech Launch Arizona Awards Eller Students For New Innovation

A team of students from the Eller College of Management were recently awarded funding from Tech Launch Arizona’s (TLA) Student Innovation Challenge in order to develop an invention that is focused on helping gaming enthusiasts—especially gamers with disabilities.

The six entrepreneurship students—Max Santamaria ’21 BSBA (Finance), Hannah Simmons ’21 BSBA (Marketing), Vinith Nair ’21 BSBA (MIS), Lily Andress ’21 BBA (Marketing), Mark Fariello ’21 BSBA (Finance) and Taylor Ruesser ’21 BSBA (Marketing)—began their journey with the goal to make video games more accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing community, knowing that this is a current and very prevalent challenge among developers.

“Gamers with disabilities are overlooked in the gaming industry in areas like game and controller design,” the team notes. “Our solution allows people with hearing disabilities to play competitive games without any disadvantages.”

The team proposed to develop a lightweight headband with 360-degree vibration capabilities, allowing the user to feel which direction difference gaming noises are coming from. The six students established each of the prototype’s details, from its physical properties to the software to integrate it into gaming.

“We hope that our invention allows the gaming industry to be a more inclusive environment,” says Santamaria. “We hope to see our product being used by video game enthusiasts across the industry and become a new tool that any gamer can rely on to create a better experience.”