Controlling the computer with eye movements
- Country of Implementation
- Western Europe
- First published
“Communication is not a skill, it’s a right. Let my eyes speak!” Mr. Eduardo Jauregui, CEO, Irisbond
The idea first arose in 2000 when a man who was looking for an alternative way to communicate with his wife. As he could not find any such technology available in Spain, he decided to get in touch with Vicomtech. The centre then initiated a new area of research and development in an effort to control a computer through human vision. Once the devel- opment was complete in 2013, Eduardo Jauregui founded Irisbond to bring the solution to market.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Irisbond Primma is a system whereby a simple and intuitive interface allows users to access any Windows computer application accurately through eye movement. With just the use of their eyes, those who are disabled and have slurred speech (as affected by ALS, multiple sclerosis, paralysis, or brain damage) can access the usual functions of a computer, such as surfing the Internet, writing texts, sending an email, etc. They can also listen to music, develop messages that can be displayed directly on the screen, print them or listen to them by synthesized or digitized voice, watch a movie, and more. Working together with psychologists and speech therapists is vital for the inclusion of those affected during childhood in the educational system and, as adults, for their inclusion in the labour market.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
Irisbond has developed a platform that allows the company to install devices remotely and provide technical support anywhere in the world. In addition, new language versions can be easily added to the software (both Primma and SmartPlaphoons), which allows the company to operate globally. Irisbond believes that the current business model has to be scaled-up to make this technology available to people all over the world. The company is currently transitioning from indirect distribution to a direct sales model, based on online sales. This effort will be supported and driven by prescription from patient associations and medical staff. Such a model will allow Irisbond to be in close contact with users and to adapt the product based on their feedback. In coun- tries with complicated import procedures, Irisbond will secure the support of a local organization working with people with disabilities and will enlist a local commercial agent to distribute the product. 112
THE STORY OF GEMA
“We could only discover her personality with Irisbond.”
Gema is seven years old, lives in Toledo, Spain, and suffers from cerebral palsy. Before initiating herself to eye tracking, she could only indicate YES or NO with the movement of her eyes. There was no way she could ask to go to the bathroom or let her family know she was happy. “Such a communication doesn’t express her personality,” says her speech therapist, Sol. Since receiving Irisbond in February 2015, Gema can communicate her needs, desires, and feelings. As Sol explains: “She is now developing as a person, and that’s amazing, because we could only discover her personality with Irisbond.” Accompanied by Sol, Gema has been learning to read and write with her eye tracking device. Irisbond has changed her life, and the life of her parents and her brother. Not only does Irisbond allow Gema to communicate but it also opens many opportunities for her future. Her mother, Ruth, strongly believes that Gema will be able to achieve the objectives she sets for herself: “She can do anything with the computer, just like you and me, which gives her access to many jobs. And this is crucial, because as parents of a child with special needs, we know how difficult it is to integrate a child into a school and even more into the labour market.”