Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

eagleeyes home

Our Eagle-Eyes have it!

eagleeyes project

Cumbernauld Today (UK)
May 26, 2005.
pg. 7 Neil McGrory

CUMBERNAULD'S Craighalbert Centre has been selected as one of just four centres worldwide to receive innovative software from an American charity.

As Scotland's national centre for children with cerebral palsy, the Craighalbert is the only institution outside the United States to have received the EagleEyes software package. This advanced equipment allows people to communicate via a computer when they would normally be unable to do so due to physical disability. One of these systems was donated to Craighalbert by the Opportunity Foundation of America, a philanthropic organisation backed by various corporate interests in the United States. The Opportunity Foundation has also provided Craighalbert with CameraMouse software which is commercially available.

The EagleEyes system uses electrodes to detect eye movement which it translates into commands for a mouse cursor. CameraMouse does the same thing with head movement via a USB camera similar to a webcam. These mean that disabled children at Craighalbert will be able to operate computers despite being unable to use a mouse or keyboard - thereby enabling them to communicate through software.

The Craighalbert held a special reception and demonstration of the EagleEyes software, hosted by centre director Dr Lillemor Jernqvist. Debbie Inkley, founder of the Opportunity Foundation presented the software to Craighalbert while Professor James Gips from Boston College in Massachusetts demonstrated the EagleEyes system with the help of volunteer Jacki Cameron.

Dr Lillemor Jernqvist, director of the Craighalbert Centre said: "I am very proud that the Craighalbert Centre has been chosen by The Opportunity Foundation of America and Boston College to be a part of a network of partners. It is a crucial element of our own learning community consisting of the children, staff and parents that we can work together to develop theory and practice through the use of pioneering technology. This project epitomises the Scottish Executive's call for development and sharing of expertise and puts Craighalbert's expertise at the forefront of computer assistive technology on a worldwide basis."

Debbie Inkley, founder and executive director of OFOA added: "We are very excited about the prospect of bringing improvements to the lives of so many people with severe disabilities. We hope to make EagleEyes available to the public on a much larger scale. The international network of bodies adopting EagleEyes will allow us to learn so much more about the educational and communication benefits that it will bring to those children who up to now have been thought to be unable to benefit from mainstream educational subjects because of their inability to communicate."

Craighalbert are now using these communications packages to determine how many of the children there will benefit and the Opportunity Foundation will provide more systems once this is known.

Credit: Cumbernauld Today