Monday, June 3, 2013

Eye Phone?

Consider this article, from IEEE Spectrum:
"Eye-Tracking Software Goes Mobile" by Ariel Bleicher

The article talks about "the potential to transform the way consumers interact with their devices." It talks about new applications (drivers dozing off, chefs browsing recipes), which is great.

But I think technology like this might better suited to help people with physical limitations interact with their devices on a very basic level, a level that most of us take for granted. For instance, my uncle died with ALS. Unable to speak or move at the end, but still mentally sharp and still able to move his eyes (I saw him a few hours before he died), he could really have benefited from this technology. I'm sure people with other disabilities would also benefit.

From Wikipedia:
"...although bladder and bowel sphincters and the muscles responsible for eye movement are usually, but not always, spared until the terminal stages of the disease."

From both National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and
"ALS does not affect a person’s ability to see, smell, taste, hear, or recognize touch. Patients usually maintain control of eye muscles and bladder and bowel functions..."

So when I see technological advances like this, I think of ways in which we can improve the lives of people with certain diseases.  I hope to see many more such advances.