'Eye writing' device aids paralyzed people
Quadriplegics and people with “locked-in syndrome” have long been using technologies that allowed them to communicate through eye-movement or blinking. But scientists at France's Pierre and Marie Curie University-Paris have taken those innovations a step further by developing an “eye-writing” technology.
“Contrary to the current belief, we show that one can gain complete, voluntary control over smooth pursuit eye movements,” researcher Jean Lorenceau, Ph.D., said. The discovery “provides a tool to use smooth pursuit eye movements as a pencil to draw, write or generate a signature.”
Smooth eye movement means the process of sustaining movement of the eye over a longer period of time than typical herky-jerky movements most people use.
Lorenceau said this method allows for a “continuous stream of eye writing that can reflect the writer's own character.”
Trials for use of the device in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients will start in 2013.