For people who suffer from being "locked in" with Lou Gehrig's Disease, or ALS, there aren't many reasonably-priced options that enable communication with the people around them. EyeControl is trying to change that by creating portable glasses that allow ALS sufferers to communicate using their eyes.
The EyeControl system uses a glass-mounted infrared camera to capture eye movements and translate them to into words or written text using an eye tracking algorithm. Once the camera detects movement it is communicated via USB to a credit card-sized computer, which translates that movement into commands via a smartphone app.
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These commands are then relayed through the system's headphones or speaker, or through a Bluetooth connection.
At the moment, the system forms solutions based on three steps. The first is to call for assistance, the second is to share predefined sentences like "I'm hot" and the third allows users to compose sentences, similar to SMS messaging.
If the owner is using the headset with an earpiece attached, it can ask them questions and then recognize their responses based on the way they move their eyes. This means that if the patient is asked a question they can respond with a set movement, like looking up for "yes".
According to EyeControl, only 30 percent of ALS sufferers are able to afford the current communication solutions out there, which run into thousands of dollars. The company says that its product could significantly reduce this cost, but there's no indication as to what this cost might be at this point.
Also setting the patent pending EyeControl system apart is the fact it is fully portable, whereas many existing systems need to be connected to a stationary computer screen to function.
The system's creators are currently trying to raise $30,000 on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo for further research and development of the hardware and app.
Below is EyeControl's Indiegogo campaign video.