Google has teamed up with the clever folks at Adaptive Design Association—an organization that builds custom adaptations for children with disabilities—for a 48-hour hackathon to design prototype games that turned learning Morse code into fun. These very modern children weren’t learning Morse code for LARPing or historical reenactment, but because Morse code is an easy way for kids with varying degrees of physical ability to communicate, play, and create—once they learn Morse code, of course.
For the hackathon, five kids took on the role of creative directors, using their imagination and interests to guide the creation of games that made learning the Morse code alphabet fun. All of them were designed to to be plated with the Gboard Morse keyboard.
One child’s passion for music led to a game called HSynth, where you play notes by typing them in Morse. Another child’s love of soccer and spy thrillers inspired a game called Morse Striker where you shoot soccer balls at targets by typing their corresponding Morse letters. There was a maze that could be completed only by writing different letters, and a train-themed game that unlocked YouTube videos as a reward for typing the correct letters in Morse code, and something evocatively titled Alphabet’s Got Talent that Simon Cowell would probably wish he’d dreamed up.
Google didn’t want to keep the fun for themselves, though, and posted the code for each of the games on the Experiments with Google website, complete with open-source examples for anyone who wants to make their own Morse-based apps.