All eyes on new writing device for the disabled

Piéplu Thomas, a 41 year old man with a neurodegenerative disease works in 2006 using a computer with a camera following the movements of his eyes. A French researcher has built a device allowing disabled people to write or draw on a computer screen using only their eyes, a report said.

A French researcher has built a device allowing disabled people to write or draw on a computer screen using only their eyes, a report said Thursday.

With head-mounted cameras monitoring their eye movements, test subjects were able to write and draw on a blank computer screen in the latest breakthrough for people trapped in immobility by disease or accident.

"For persons deprived of , this offers a fast, creative and personal means of linguistic and ," said the report by Jean Lorenceau of France's CNRS research institute.

Lorenceau's system, still just a prototype, compensates for saccadic, or jumpy, to allow a smooth writing style.

After four half-hour training sessions, his subjects were able to write at a rate of about 25 letters per minute.

Similar systems exist, but none that allow a person to trace their own letters with this level of precision.

In July, engineers said they had built a device using mass-produced video gaming equipment that lets disabled people control a with just their eyes -- with a price tag of under $30 (25 euros).

Other technologies require electrode implants in the brain, an expensive procedure.

Such technology offers hope for restoring some level of independence to people suffering from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy and or amputees.

In the EU alone, there were more than 16 million people with disabilities who would benefit from such a system, an earlier study had found.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Writing in cursive with your eyes only

Jul 26, 2012

A new technology described in the paper published online on July 26 in Current Biology might allow people who have almost completely lost the ability to move their arms or legs to communicate freely, by usi ...

An affordable future for eye tracking in sight

Apr 03, 2006

An ambitious five-year project will attempt to make eye-tracking technologies more affordable for people with disabilities and extend the potential use of the devices to enable users to live more independently.

Playing 'Pong' with the blink of an eye (w/ Video)

Mar 26, 2010

University students have developed a computer game that is operated by eye movements, which could allow people with severe physical disabilities to become 'gamers' for the first time, they announce today.

Recommended for you

User comments