Device gives limbless people the ability to write and draw
- 08 Aug
A novel device that can track eye movements and translate them into smooth lines on a screen gives people with no limbs or with limb paralysis the ability to write and draw after only a few hours of training.
Developed by the Centre de Recherche de l′Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epinière (CNRS/UPMC/Inserm), the device enables users to write numbers, letters, figures and even a signature.
Although the eye can follow a moving object very efficiently, it is not capable of performing smooth, regular movements in front of a static background; it performs instead a series of irregular jerks. This is why current writing devices using eye movements only allow users to choose from words or letters that are displayed on a screen.
Using a visual illusion
To obtain smooth trajectories of the eye, Jean Lorenceau, of CNRS/UPMC/Inserm came up with the idea of using a visual illusion called reverse-phi, which has been known since the 1970s but which has not until now found any applications. The illusion occurs when several hundred disks whose luminance varies over time at a frequency of around 10-15 Hz are displayed on a screen. When the user′s eyes move over this flickering background, the subject has the clear impression that the disks move with the displacement of the eyes.
Since the human eye is capable of following moving objects with precision, the illusory movement of the disks induced by the movement of the eyes gives them a sort of moving support, allowing them to realise regular and non-jerky trajectories. An oculometer records the movements of the user′s eye and very simple software enables these movements to be visualized on a screen. Two to four training sessions lasting around 30 minutes are all that are needed to be able to manage eye movements and draw letters. Well-trained individuals can write with their eyes at more or less the same speed as handwriting.
This device could give persons suffering from limb paralysis the means to personalize their writing, write their own signature and, more generally, to express themselves and communicate in a more creative and free manner. The next step in this research will consist in proposing to persons suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to use the invention. However, Lorenceau believes that this system opens the way to other applications: it could be used to train pilots, surgeons, sportsmen, artists and other persons whose activities require precise oculomotor control. It could also make it possible to design security systems based on the recognition of eye movements.
- 10 Sep
Young people with learning disabilities more likely to be abused
A group of children’s charities have said that young people with disabilities have the “same vulnerabilities” as all young people but face extra “barriers” to getting protection or support,...
- 07 Sep
Success for a disability sport programme
The programme ran for three weeks and included multi-sport camps at Aberdeen Sports Village, reports the Mearns Leader. Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee...
- 21 Jul
Hartlepool to open a disability centre
Work has begun on the Hartlepool Borough Council project which aims to provide the Centre for Independent Living on the site of the current Havelock Centre in Burbank, reports The Hartlepool Mail.It...
- 14 Jul
Reform for care of adults with learning disabilities criticised for being slow
Following the care home abuse scandal at Winterbourne, Sir Stephen Bubb headed a review into care home abuse, which was published in November, reports the BBC.England's chief nursing officer said...
- 18 Jun
Campaigners warn that people with disabilities are losing rights due to government cuts
Charities are concerned that the rights of people with learning disabilities to live independent lives are slipping due to government cuts to benefits and social care, reports the Guardian. A letter...
- 11 Jun
Concern over disability benefits following council change
On the 30th of June a £500m Independent Living Fund will be in the control of local authorities, leaving people fearing how the benefit allowance for disabled adults will be affected, reports the...
- 21 May
Victims of disability hate crime are being let down
Police, prosecutors and probations services have failed to bring in need change over the past two years, a report by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate has found, reports the BBC.The CPS, police and...
- 08 May
New initiative to support young people with disabilities
Liberty Staffordshire Community Interest Company have been developed to maximise opportunities for young people due to growing concern they could be left isolated following the withdrawal of...
- 05 May
How technology is helping people with disabilities
At the exhibit people presented all-terrain wheelchairs, adapted smartphone for people whose fingers can't cope with normal devices, wheelchairs that allow the user to become level with the people...
- 01 May
Charities call for action on accessible housing
Leonard Cheshire Disability charity has told The Yorkshire Post that the lack of housing which is accessible for people with disabilities must become and election issue and is calling for the...
How to fund Housing Support and Social Care Services "Alot of information in a short time, good for me because I travelled a long way. So I feel the journey was worthwhile." C.T - People First Dorset