EyeControl allows people with ALS to communicate with their eyes

July 10, 2015

A new wearable device called EyeControl aims to give a voice to those who are unable to communicate by allowing them to speak using their eyes.

Tel Aviv, Israel-A new wearable device called EyeControl aims to give a voice to those who are unable to communicate by allowing them to speak using their eyes.

How it works

EyeControl is an infrared camera connected to a simple glasses frame that communicates with a credit-card sized computer. The computer identifies and translates the user’s blinks and eye movements into commands, which will output sound to earphones and to a speaker.

Related: What optometry can learn from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The device has three modes that can help the user communicate:

 • An alert sound to call for assistance

• Various predefined sentences, such as “I’m cold” or “My hand hurts”

• Compose sentences similar to SMS messaging

(Images courtesy of EyeControl)

Next: How it can help

 

How it can help

EyeControl aims to help people who suffer from conditions like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Those who suffer from ALS gradually lose their ability to speak and control their limbs, while maintaining cognitive abilities-a condition commonly referred to as “locked in.” People who suffer from stroke, car accidents, and other muscular dystrophy diseases can also be locked in.

“The challenges of some of the simple activities of daily living for patients with neurologically based diseases such as ALS and multiple sclerosis are numerous,” says Optometry Times Editorial Advisory Board member Marc Taub, OD, MS, FAAO, FCOVD. “While this technology is obviously in its infancy, the promise that it holds to change lives is tremendous.”

More from Dr. Taub: Vision therapy: A top 10 must-have list

The device separates itself from similar communication devices for patients who are locked in because it will be relatively inexpensive and mobile. Only 30 percent of people who suffer from ALS are able to afford the communication solutions that are currently available.

Next: The next steps

 

The next steps

EyeControl has a patent pending and a working prototype. The company is trying to raise $30,000 through crowdfunding site IndieGoGo in order to bring the device to the market at an affordable price.

The campaign will also help the company begin a comprehensive pilot program to identify problems and make necessary improvements. The funds will also be used to design a head-mounted device for the camera, improve the eye-tracking algorithm, and develop more features for the mobile app.

The company’s goal is to have the device available around the world within the next three years.

Click here to see EyeControl’s IndieGoGo campaign