All sorts of technological advancements affect people regardless of their abilities, but few inventions completely transform the lives of people with physical or mental infirmity.
Accessible tech comprises driverless cars, mind-controlled exoskeletons and a slew of other recently surfaced innovations that redefine disability. Eye-controlled wheelchairs have garnered huge popularity among wheelchair users over the last few years, but Eyedrivomatic can be touted as the most promising systems made available in the market until now.
Designed by Patrick Joyce, Eyedrivomatic enables people using eyegaze equipment and motorized wheelchairs to control their mobility like never before. Living with advanced ALS, 46-year old Joyce is a British inventor understood the mobility-related issues people in his position faced daily and wanted to help.
The eyegaze system and the wheelchair Joyce used weren’t purchased by him, as is the case for many others. He needed something that would interface with the computer which is usually mounted on the user's chair to move the joystick physically.
Joyce realized that he didn't need to make any changes in the existing user hardware to pull this off. Moreover, if the tech came to fruition, he knew it would be compatible with just about every combination of wheelchair and eyegaze.
Dubbed as Eyedrivomatic, the system he came up with can be split into two parts including a Windows app that interfaces with an eyegaze system, and 'electronic hand' - a device containing servos that move the joystick. In addition to that, it has three relays to activate the switch.
Eyedrivomatic is designed to keep people with a lack of muscle control in mind. It adopts the current eye-tracking technology to help users who are unable to operate their wheelchairs. Wheelchair users can control the Eyedrivomatic system using just their eyes and do not even need to spend a lot of money.
Quadriplegia is usually caused due to a spinal injury, but several other diseases cause loss of controlled movement in limbs and head. People living in this situation are unable to control their wheelchairs independently, and that's exactly where the eye-controlled wheelchair comes into the picture.
The Eyedrivomatic is an inexpensive, yet accessible open-source system that enables motorized wheelchair users to control their mobility through eye movement. The technology redefines the old phrase, "watch where you’re going."
Image credit: eyedrivomatic / YouTube channel