I’m always inspired by pioneering tech ideas that help people overcome physical or mental disabilities, so the videos that follow caught my attention. They’re about EyeWriter and BrainWriter, which use eye movements and brainwaves to help people with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease). ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causes loss of muscle control, including the ability to breathe, and thus leads to early death.
The famous theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, has helped to bring attention to the disease and what can be done with a severe disability by beating the odds and living past age 70.
Don Moir: ALS patient, husband, and father
In the video below, watch Don write a love letter to his wife and audibly say “I love you, Lorraine” for the first time in 15 years, thanks to a digital solution by the Not Impossible team, Speak Your Mind Foundation and HP’s #BendTheRules.
Not Impossible’s Mick Ebeling Introduces the Eyewriter @TED
EyeWriter is an open-source innovation created to enable the ALS-inflicted graffiti-artist TEMPT to draw again and was selected as one of Time Magazine’s 50 Best Inventions of 2010. He speaks of how the open-source movement can imagine a solution to problems and “make it possible.”
TEMPT: LA graffiti artist
This last video features the trailer for “Getting Up: The TemptOne Story”. It describes similar open-source work to extend the eye-tracking of EyeWriter into BrainWriter, which uses EEG brainwave analysis.