Beleev

Software to manage controlled multisensory environments

Beleev software for multisensory environments

SO/VSO St. Jan Baptist, a school for children with learning difficulties, approached BSL to ask us to develop custom software for a so-called snoezelruimte (snoozle room). Snoezelruimte is a Dutch term for controlled multisensory environments (MSE), designed to stimulate various senses using (moving) images, sound, light, colour, smells, and textures. MSE can often help people with developmental disabilities and children with autism who need rest and distraction.

The application

We developed Beleev, a media browser and player that helps students to navigate through a specially designed media library using a touch screen interface.

  • Media can be added using an external USB stick so that a specific child or group of children can view material tailored to their needs.
  • There are on-screen buttons for play, pause, next, previous and other functions.
  • We can control HUE lamps, so they show specific colours during videos.
  • With the help of a third-party tool, these lamps can follow the colours of the current image or video.
  • We also support the use of external hardware (such as large, child-friendly remote controls) to control the application.
  • The application can handle single and dual display configurations, where the video is shown over the interface on a single screen or full screen on the second screen.
Beleev software for multisensory environments
multisensory environments

Software features

Teachers and supervisors can opt to switch several features on or off. For example, they can turn off the HUE lights if a child is too susceptible to this type of stimuli. In addition, they can set the HUE lamps to a specific colour for each video or connect a beamer if they wish. When using a beamer, the Beleev software automatically switches it on and off when starting up and closing down. Moreover, the application supports a separate work light group that turns on when in sleep mode.

Because our multisensory environment software will run in different rooms that do not necessarily have identical specifications, supervisors can configure the software with a configuration file. They can choose which of the features are available. For example, the number of displays, HUE lamps and scenes, whether a projector will be used, and describe any available input hardware. They can also store the configurations for each specific feature, such as the IP address of the HUE bridge, or names and colours of the HUE scenes. We designed the software to be as flexible as possible, making it easy to configure the software for use in almost any location.

Software features

Teachers and supervisors can opt to switch several features on or off. For example, they can turn off the HUE lights if a child is too susceptible to this type of stimuli. In addition, they can set the HUE lamps to a specific colour for each video or connect a beamer if they wish. When using a beamer, the Beleev software automatically switches it on and off when starting up and closing down. Moreover, the application supports a separate work light group that turns on when in sleep mode.

Because our multisensory environment software will run in different rooms that do not necessarily have identical specifications, supervisors can configure the software with a configuration file. They can choose which of the features are available. For example, the number of displays, HUE lamps and scenes, whether a projector will be used, and describe any available input hardware. They can also store the configurations for each specific feature, such as the IP address of the HUE bridge, or names and colours of the HUE scenes. We designed the software to be as flexible as possible, making it easy to configure the software for use in almost any location.

multisensory environments

Technical solution

Our engineers built the Beleev software largely using web technology. The web offers many APIs for control, media playback and – just as important – endless possibilities when it comes to building and displaying user interfaces. The web application in turn communicates with a small server application that hosts and presents the media content, controls HUE lamps, switches the projector on and off, etc.

We built the user interface with Preact, an alternative to Facebook’s popular React framework. The benefit of Preact is that it focuses solely on performance. In a nutshell, it offers the abstraction of React but Harder, Better, Faster, Smaller. There is a wealth of documentation available too as the API is virtually identical to React. This also means that many React libraries can also be used in Preact applications.

The server is a Node JS application comprising several modules. One module is responsible for accessing media files, another controls HUE equipment, and a third manages the beamer. This modular approach means we can easily expand the system with new features, and/or exchange one or more modules with other similar technology in future. By choosing NodeJS, we have been able to use a single programming language (JavaScript)  – for the entire application, making the development process more manageable.

multisensory environment - lighting

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Unique solutions

OK, we like a challenge. And unique developments, such as custom software for “snoozle” rooms, fit nicely into this category. Our client had very clear requirements, and no standard solution was available, so we designed, developed and delivered a custom solution. So bring your unique project to BSL, and we’ll discuss the options with you. We can usually give a fixed price for the project’s development and a clear development plan. As a result, there’s more or less no risk involved!

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Every client has deadlines, and it’s usually a given that clients want to get their new software up and running as soon as possible. Our in-house specialists can handle almost every aspect of modern software development, starting with modern interface designs and prototypes. Uniquely, we can develop and integrate plugin modules and APIs to extend standard web CMSs to meet your every need. Then, once your software is ready for deployment, we can support you during the software installation and beyond with maintenance contracts and future extensions.

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Once a software product has gone into production, users need long-term support and maintenance. That’s why we offer customers a range of flexible support services. These can include many options, such as 24/7 availability, guaranteed response times and on-site visits. All at a fixed annual price.

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Roderick

Front-end Developer, Bright Side of Life

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