MONTREAL -- Video games are a popular activity for most grade nine students, but for one class at Verdun's Beurling Academy, they're a math and science project aimed at helping those with disabilities.

The project was to develop a video game controller for people with either a visual, auditory, or physical disability.

“The goal here was for students to carry out an investigation independently, investigate different disabilities in world,” explained Ayesha Anwar, one of the teachers involved. “We wanted them to relate to this project, that’s why we came up with a gaming controller… they went out and found out how different disabilities would use controllers.”

The class was divided into several groups with each one creating a unique design using a basic circuit board kit from a company called Makey Makey and Play Doh buttons that helped complete the electrical circuit.

“We were originally going to do almost an (Nintendo Entertainment System) style controller but I thought it was too hard to use for someone with motor disabilities,” said student Jeremy Willey, whose group designed a controller for someone who may have only use of one arm. “That’s why I came up with this controller to use with one hand.”

Tianna Roman’s group also created a controller for someone with limited hand use.

“We created large bright buttons and limited amount, so people with hands that may not function can navigate the controller," she said. 

Thomas Swiderski, another teacher in the class, runs the school’s social media accounts and posted some of the photos and tagged the circuit board manufacturer. He was surprised at the feedback the class received.

“They [Makey Makey] featured it on their corporate blog and tagged occupational therapists on Twitter with designs students made, where they said 'Hey, try this with a patient.'”

Although the praise was much appreciated, the students said the most important part of the project was learning about what these projects could to help those in need.

As student Leila Bourcier put it, “The most inspiring thing about the project is learning about it and helping people in the future and how it can impact them.”