A project log for SquareVoice

A touch and eye controlled communication system with ease of use as the paramount goal.

Mike TurveyMike Turvey 09/14/2016 at 21:530 Comments

Several years ago, we acquired a Dynavox EyeMax for my daughter. The idea is that by changing where she is looking on the screen, she can make selections in a special program, and those selections add up to language. Honestly, it's amazing technology that can open up the world to somebody who would otherwise be trapped in their body. But I really have a love/ hate relationship with that thing. For all that it promises and enables, it is a big, bulky, slow computer that crashes far to often and takes over 5 minutes to boot up. The mount is near impossible to get in the right position. Configuring the software is a horribly tedious affair. And it's not designed to be used by someone who doesn't understand the software. For example, my daughter would regularly trigger the control to re-calibrate the eye-gaze. Except, she doesn't know how to calibrate it. So it gets screwed up and we have to re-calibrate it for her. And the small screen requires a much higher level of eye gaze precision than a larger screen would allow. Lots of room for improvement.

Almost two years ago, Tobii started selling a developer's version of their eye gaze hardware. They've since made some minor inroads in bringing it to the gaming community. At the time, I bought a couple with the intent of making an eye-gaze controlled wheelchair (i.e. the chair drives in the direction you're looking). For various reasons, that project never made it off the ground. But, I had the hardware on hand, and some time off of work this summer. It was time to make a better eye gaze communication system.