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EagleEyes Project Update

EagleEyes Winter 2008 Newsletter

The following piece was written by Prof. James Gips, Director of the EagleEyes Project.
 
The purpose of the EagleEyes Project is to help people with severe physical disabilities develop and be educated to their fullest by enabling them to access the computer. We work with people, mainly children and young adults, who cannot speak and can move only their eyes or head.
 
The EagleEyes Project began at Boston College and involves a growing number of institutions and organizations.  We aspire to live up to the core Boston College values of “Ever to Excel” and “Men and women for others.”

The project is built around two access technologies:

EagleEyes allows a person to control the mouse pointer on a Windows computer by movement of the eyes.  EagleEyes uses electrodes placed on the face to detect eye movements.  Boston College has given the Opportunity Foundation of America, headquartered in Salt Lake City, the exclusive license to manufacture and distribute EagleEyes systems for use by people with disabilities.  The systems now are manufactured by Sanmina, a major medical equipment manufacturer, for the cost of the components, and given away for free by the Opportunity Foundation to schools, facilities, and families who can make good use of the technology.  As of this writing we are waiting for test units of our fourth version of EagleEyes.  The Opportunity Foundation of America is holding a major fundraiser in March to raise money to manufacture, distribute, and support the next batch of EagleEyes systems.  (See www.ofoa.net and www.eagleeyes.org.)

Camera Mouse allows a person to control the mouse pointer on a Windows computer just by movement of the head.  Camera Mouse uses any commercial USB webcam placed on or below the computer monitor to track head movements.  Since June 2007, Camera Mouse has been available for free download at www.cameramouse.org.  In the month of December 2007 there were over 1,000 downloads of Camera Mouse.  In January 2008, there were over 2,500 downloads.  The downloads are literally to all over the world (Australia to Zambia).
 
We also develop and provide software to be used with EagleEyes and Camera Mouse.  For example, Staggered Speech is an onscreen keyboard communication program based on the spelling method developed by Rick Hoyt (www.teamhoyt.com) and his brother.  The program is available for free download at www.staggeredspeech.org.

We try to weave academic research and publication with products, services, and actions that help real people in the here and now, to integrate and develop theory and practice.  We try to aid in the education and formation of our students.
 
We welcome your involvement and thank you for your support.