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Disabled but Can Control Computers with Their Eyes

By Kai Wade - Director of Communications & Social Media | October 5th, 2012

Two cameras—Priceless view.

Led by Dr. Aldo Faisal, Lecturer in Neurotechnology at Imperial's Department of Bioengineering and the Department of Computing, bioengineers at Imperial College have industrialized an advanced controller for individuals with neurological disorders that is not only more accurate, but is also less expensive and uses technology that is not available on the current market.

The new device can scan the wearer’s eyes from outside the field of vision and provide ‘3D’ management without invasive surgery.

GT3D System

The GT3D device employs a pair of eyeglass frames with two fast video game console cameras priced less than $30(US) each.

Published in the Journal of Neural Engineering, team members elucidated that the GT3D device uses two cameras to collect images of each of the wearer’s eyes. The high resolution exemplified by the cameras combined with the gaming system allows the camera to track and process the images with prodigious speed and accurateness.

The two cameras track the angle of the wearer’s eyes and from that can judge the angle and distance of what appears. Scanning both eyes— the system gives paraplegics the corresponding action of a mouse click by blinking one eye.

The device uses a single watt of power and can transfer information using WiFi or thru a USB cable to any computer that uses Windows or Linux operating systems.

Precise Eyes Producing Lightning Results

According to the Dr. Faisal, the GT3D system has lightning speed. "Crucially, we have achieved two things: we have built a 3D eye tracking system hundreds of times cheaper than commercial systems and used it to build a real-time brain machine interface that allows patients to interact more smoothly and more quickly than existing invasive technologies that are tens of thousands of times more expensive. This is frugal innovation, developing smarter software and piggy-backing existing hardware to create devices that can help people worldwide independent of their healthcare circumstances," he stated.

The lightning precise eyes are enabling users with physically weakening conditions such as muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries to use a computer, send emails and search the internet efficiently and comfortably.

With continuing research the uses for this technology extends beyond interaction with computers, including wheelchairs to be steered by their users just by looking in the direction they want to go.

This advanced technology has massive potential for the millions of individuals suffering from neurological disorders—without cures, making life a little easier for some.

To learn more about neurological disorders, find a neurologist in your area.



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