“I am now playing with the Jazz band that I listened to in the audience!”
My name is Harry Hötzinger, and I am 35 years old and live in my own apartment in Vienna. I consider myself a cineaste, and I love music and travelling. Due to my physical challenges (I cannot move my head or limbs due to muscular dystrophy) I rely on my personal assistants to help me accomplish everyday tasks and activities. When I met the guys from the AsTeRICS Academy team at a jazz concert in Vienna in 2013, they asked me if I wanted to participate in the development of their special input devices, and I agreed. I was equipped with a “Lipmouse”-sensor which allows me to control a computer via lip movements and sip/puff actions. Since then I have been able to use my computer autonomously for reading or writing emails, browsing the web, playing games, and much more. I can also control my home entertainment equipment via infrared remote. In 2014 we developed the idea that I could learn how to play a computer-based musical instrument. An eye-tracker was added to my setup, which allows me efficient selection of notes or chords in a graphical user interface. The system worked so well that I started playing keyboards in a band – the same Jazz band that I listened to in the audience two years ago! Since early 2015 we have had three public concerts in Vienna and we have further developed the capabilities of the musical system. I want to share my story because this technology was a real game-changer for me.