Nancye Tuttle wrote an article for the Lowell Sun about our project. Here is the link: http://www.lowellsun.com/ci_7743287

Following is a copy of the article for archival purposes.

UMass Lowell students' video game targets hope for disabled teens

The Lowell Sun
Article Last Updated: 12/17/2007 11:49:01 AM EST

By Nancye Tuttle


LOWELL -- Jim Dalphond bent over his laptop, showing off Battle Tanks, a new, user-friendly video game he and Matt Oulette created for special needs and disabled teens.

"We wanted to make games to stimulate them visually and interact a bit, but that only required them to hit one button as they interfaced," said Dalphond, a University of Massachusetts Lowell senior computer science major from Dracut.

For Dalphond and his classmates in professor Fred Martin's software engineering class, making the future brighter for teens was the name of the game in this project.

It also brought home the fact that the future is happening now at UMass Lowell.

They showed off the games Thursday in the first annual Student Sustainability Project Showcase at the college's Alumni Hall.

Besides the new games for disabled teens, the fair featured other sustainability projects from water treatment and wind power to food safety and robotics. Interested visitors and staffers mingled, asked questions and pondered the future's promising possibilities.

The showcase was Sarah Kuhn's brainchild. An associate professor in the department of regional economic and social development, she teaches an undergraduate class called "Designing the Future World."

Her students do projects that focus on sustainability in the economic, environmental or social areas.

"They think about solutions and propose ways to reach them. Even if some aren't realistic, they get practice in making changes," she said.

Among her students, Jose Amado, of Boston, and Bonnie Tacheron, of Lowell, came up with a food security project to promote the direct purchase of food by the school's food services from local farmers.

They presented fliers with ideas and had a vivid display set up, outlining possibilities for the project, which would guarantee fresher food and help sustain local farmers.

"We learned that one of the biggest obstacles is distributing the food from farm to campus," said Amado. "But it has great possibilities."

Kuhn invited other professors, including Martin, whose students were designing future-impacting projects.

Martin's students jumped on and will show off their new video games on Dec. 18 to students at the Kennedy Day School in Boston's Brighton.

"I'm glad to work on a project for people to use that will benefit them and make their lives better," said Dalphond.