Northern Ireland Seeks to Use BC Technology for Disabled Children

Northern Ireland Seeks to Use BC Technology for Disabled Children

Assistive technology developed at Boston College will help disabled children in Northern Ireland when the EagleEyes and Camera Mouse systems are introduced to schools there.

Northern Ireland education officials have secured funding for 26 Camera Mouse systems and have signed a licensing agreement for the EagleEyes technology. The software that allows disabled children to operate a computer by the blink of an eye or nod of the head was expected to be introduced to Northern Ireland schools in January and February.

The Camera Mouse uses a video camera located above or below the user's monitor to replace a mouse, allowing a person with very limited voluntary muscle control to control a computer by a slight move of the head, or a thumb, or a toe.

Both assistive computer-devices were designed by BC computer-science and education faculty and field-tested in the classrooms of the Boston College Campus School for children with multiple disabilities.

Northern Ireland school officials visiting Boston College in May 2001 for an Irish Institute seminar on education policymaking were invited to the Campus School for a demonstration of the EagleEyes and Camera Mouse technologies. Thus, a partnership was born.

"The inspectors were totally bowled over by the technology," said Carl Savage of the Northern Ireland Department of Education's special education branch. "The whole trip would have been worth it just for EagleEyes."

For more on the assistive computer-devices developed at Boston College, visit the home page of the EagleEyes project.

-Mark Sullivan

 

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