Last week we featured Gaze Interaction software, which uses eye tracking technology to allow users to control computer interfaces with only their eyes.
This kind of technology can be extremely beneficial to people with disabilities, allowing for easier communication and computer access. However, it can be expensive and it is not easily available in many parts of the world.
Enter 18-year-old Luis Cruz, creator of the Eyeboard. Cruz has developed an open-source eye tracking device sold as an inexpensive do-it-yourself kit. Unlike Gaze, which uses cameras to track eye movement, the Eyeboard employs electrooculography (EOG) technology, reading eye movement from electrodes attached to the user’s forehead.
The electrodes detect small electrical pulses sent between the retina and the cornea, recording data often used by ophthalmologists to study patients’ eye movement. The Eyeboard uses that data to detect where the user is looking on a computer interface.
The project’s developer, Luis Cruz, was born and raised in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where he taught himself several programming languages and other aspects of computer science. At 16, Cruz used his programming knowledge to create his own video game system, which earned him local media attention.
In pursuit of better opportunities, Cruz moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado to finish his senior year of high school. There he met a classmate who was tetraplegic and realized the lack of affordable technology available to help people with similar disabilities communicate.
That inspired Cruz to create the Eyeboard, available for purchase through his website for $125. To ensure that as many people as possible have access to his product, he released it as open source in a do-it-yourself kit.
He is utilizing the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, to earn $10,000 to improve his product. With the money, he hopes to make the Eyeboard even cheaper by taking it into scale production while also improving on the software.
The precocious developer’s vision “…is seeing The Eyeboard at home, schools and organizations for disabled people, so anybody interested in controlling the computer with their eyes can do it.”
At the age of 18, with such a bright mind and a clear sense of duty to help those in need, we look forward to what this young man can do.
As of now, Cruz has a little over $2,000 with 17 days left to collect the rest. If you want to donate to this project and help Cruz’ vision come true, click here.