If we told you that most eye-controlled computing devices cost as much as $$5,000 or $7,000, would you be surprised? Would you be even more surprised that London scientists have developed a similarly capable device for about thirty bucks using off the shelf parts and a couple of hacked video game consoles
According to CNN, Dr. Aldo Faisal, the lead researcher on the project, was toying with a deconstructed video game console and made an intriguing discovery: "I hacked it and discovered it was very fast and better than any webcam for movement,” he said. “Actually, it was so fast that I found we could record eye movement with it."
The way the two-camera device works is that the wearer dons the specs and calibrates them by looking at different dots on a computer screen when instructed by a piece of software. Then, he can control a mouse
on a screen with reportedly strong accuracy.
Such technology can open up new worlds to those suffering from diseases such as MS and muscular dystrophy, and Marita Pohlschmidt, the director of research at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign in the UK calls it a potentially life-changing innovation. "It also offers us an exciting glimpse of future possibilities -- optical control of hoists, beds, blinds, kitchen and entertainment equipment,” she said. “The impact of recovering the independence to do such things for disabled people, their carers -- and for family life -- would be vast.”
Although Faisal said that he’s been approached by multiple companies interested in commercializing the device, they’ve all been looking at making an enormous profit by undercutting the competition by just 10% and still charging thousands of dollars. However, Faisal wants to push the price point down to $125, saying that “My mission is that we forge technology with neurological science to find ways to help millions of people with disabilities, such as loss of limbs or muscular disorders, use technology in a cheap way.”
And if no company is willing to partner up to meet that goal within the next couple of years? Faisal will just make all their hardware and software information open to the public online and let the community make hay.